Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav Wednesday came down heavily on party leaders, including his son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, while reviewing the SP’s preparations for the 2017 Assembly elections in the state.
Addressing workers on the occasion of the 83rd birth anniversary of socialist ideologue Janeshwar Mishra in Lucknow, Mulayam touched upon “old wounds” by taking cue from his party’s drubbing in last year’s Lok Sabha elections and poured his heart out before the gathering.
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“Even after so many facilities provided by the state government, you (SP ministers and leaders) have left me nowhere to go. Only five MPs won (last year). People take jibes at us — ‘five seats and from one family’. I am one MP, the others are the wife of CM, cousins of CM and now a nephew. For the first time, I was not allowed to speak in Parliament. Speaker did not even look at me and I had to walk out,” the SP chief said, claiming that “the situation would have been different had the party won 30 seats”.
The SP leader also slammed the CM for “not following my orders (to review the reasons for the defeat)”.
“No review was done. There is no point hiding your weakness; instead you (Akhilesh) should improve it. Once again, elections (panchayat and civic) are approaching but there is no preparation. You write confidential letter to me and I will respond,” he told the CM.
On several occasions during his 40-minute-long speech, Mulayam snubbed his son for talking to others and not being attentive. “CM batein kar rahe hain, meri nahi sun rahein hain. Achcha batao maine kya kaha,” he said.
Mulayam also asked Akhilesh to “immediately hold meetings with his ministers” in regards to the panchayat polls (to be held between September 9 and December 15) since it will be these ministers who will “elect 36 MLCs”. “Communists lost West Bengal because they were wiped out in panchayat polls. Don’t be under the illusion that the government will help you win the polls. Ministers will help but not openly. If any candidate loses (in the panchayat elections), his candidacy will be given a second thought in future.”
The SP chief then opened the can of “feedback” received from the people, which “paints a bad picture of SP”, and made it clear that the party will not give tickets to those who “insult and oppress people”.
“People are saying that the (SP) ministers will lose in good numbers. You should come out of your air-conditioned rooms and refrain from taking salute from your officers. Reach out to people, make them aware of the work done by the state government; there is still some time left. I don’t know what preparations have been made but the feedback we have received from the people paints a bad picture.”
Mulayam then asked his ministers and leaders to “improve your image first”.
“There are long queues of those seeking ticket for panchayat elections. Any one who is a contractor, commission agent, muscleman, or those who insult and oppress people will not get the ticket. Only clean image will get you the ticket. Ramgopal is reviewing the ticket-seekers’ list. I have received a report but have not gone through it,” he said, adding that “leaders from whose areas maximum number of village heads have been elected would be preferred.”
Mulayam also pointed out the “absence of women” in party’s functions, saying they “hesitate” in attending SP’s programmes. “Earlier, may women used to come. You should all ensure that they feel confident, that no one will see them with evil eyes during our programmes. I request women to come and bring their friends as well. They will be given respect,” he said.
Time and again, Mulayam turned his attention towards his CM son and took him and his government to task. When he slammed the government for failing to inform him that the Centre did not release funds for those affected in untimely rain and floods, Minister Ambika Choudhary intervened to say that a letter has been written.
Taking a jibe, Mulayam said: “Yes, as if it will be done on your letter. Give the letter to me, I will personally hand it over to Union Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) and to PM (Narendra Modi) and get the funds released.”
After the severe attack on his son’s government, Mulayam tried to walk his way back when he suggested to the party leaders that they “should work to bring the government back in power”. “In your government, no ‘thanedar’ (police officer) insults you, you would have been thrown out otherwise,” he said.
When Akhilesh came to the dais, he tried to mend the scene by highlighting various welfare schemes and asking workers to “now fan out on your cycles and spread the work done ”.
The CM also said that his government will continue with the supply of milk in mid-day meal scheme to primary school children despite criticism and soon it will be made five days in a week.
Significantly, while Mulayam had raised the issue of “clean image”, former MP and mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed was personally called by him on the stage and asked to address the gathering. “I have all the right to speak as Janeshwar Mishra was from Allahabad. He supported me when I contested from Phoolpur. Now, only Mulayam remembers him and no other party does,” he said.