A day after the SP suffered a rout in Uttar Pradesh polls, voices of dissent started surfacing in the party on Sunday with senior leaders blaming the defeat on family feud and sidelining of veteran leaders for inexperienced youths. But party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav defended his son Akhilesh Yadav, saying “no one person is responsible for the defeat”.
The party could manage only 47 seats, 177 down from its 2012 tally of 224 seats.
Speaking to mediapersons at his residence in Saifai, where he arrived to celebrate Holi, Mulayam said: “Koi ek aadmi jimmedar nahi hai haar ke liye (No one person is responsible for the defeat)… Samajwadi Party could not impress those who inclined towards BJP because of the promises it made.”
Mulayam maintained there was no reason for the party’s defeat and ruled out any feud in the party or his family. He also denied that the turmoil within the party was responsible for SP’s poor show. On the alliance with the Congress, Mulayam said: “Contesting UP elections in an alliance is over… further discussion on the alliance would be done later.”
The SP veteran said this was not the first time that party has faced defeat in elections. “There was a time when the party had won only 23 seats, but it did well in elections later and formed the government. SP will win elections again and form government,” he added.
However, the patron’s words were not enough to dissuade party leaders from speaking out against Akhilesh Yadav.
Accusing outgoing chief minister of being arrogant, veteran leader Bhagwati Singh said: “I never imagined that the party would get 47 seats after running a government with a majority… Akhilesh Yadav had become arrogant after coming to power and his decision to forcibly replace Mulayam from the post of party national president sent an adverse message to the masses. He gave priority to youths and sidelined experienced leaders. He also ignored Mulayam’s opinion in the selection of candidates.”
Bhagwati, a former Rajya Sabha member, added that the feud within the Yadav family was another major reason for the party’s debacle in the elections.
On Akhilesh entering into an alliance with the Congress, Bhagwati claimed it was “never a right decision”. “Samajwadis had been sent to jail and faced atrocities during Congress rule… Akhilesh should now focus on strengthening the party organisation from the ground level and ensure training of youth workers ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.”
Former Union minister and SP Rajya Sabha member Beni Prasad Verma, who was not invited to campaign in the elections, said: “Janata ki rai hai… kya keh sakte hain (This is the will of the people… what can we say).” He refused to comment on the SP-Congress alliance and the feud in the Yadav family.
Initially, Mulayam had given a ticket to Beni’s son Rakesh from Ramnagar in Barabanki district. After Akhilesh took over the party’s reins, Rakesh was replaced with MLA and Cabinet Minister Arvind Singh Gope. Gope on Saturday lost from Ramnagar.
SP state executive member and veteran socialist, Bakhtawar Singh from Saharanpur, also claimed that the family dispute had damaged the party to a large extent. “Ghar mein jhagda hota hai toh farq toh padta hi hai (A dispute in a family makes a difference)… Some sycophant youths and bureaucrats misled Akhilesh,” said Bakhtawar (72), who has been associated with the Socialist party since 1962 and later had joined Mulayam.
Will fight to win again: Shivpal in video message
Lucknow: Sidelined SP leader Shivpal Yadav, who won from his seat in Uttar Pradesh where his party suffered a rout, on Sunday vowed to fight back. A day after winning the Jaswant Nagar seat, the warring uncle of SP president Akhilesh Yadav tweeted a 40-second video titled ‘Hum phir ladkar jeetenge (We will fight again to win)’. The video shows the leader with Mulayam and Akhilesh in party meetings. The video ends with a text message — “Hum jeet ke haare hain.. hum phir ladkar jeetenge.”
Shivpal on Sunday said that he was responsible for the defeat and not Akhilesh. “The party has reached to the place from where it started…,” he added.