Close on the heels of BJP’s announcement that it will contest the upcoming panchayat elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday asked leaders to recommend names from which the candidates will be picked.
Addressing a meeting of SP’s state executive committee, Mulayam said that panchayat elections should be taken very seriously.
“Demarcation of panchayats is over and soon elections will be held. We need to take these elections very seriously. All of you should fan out in your respective areas and recommend names of suitable candidates,” Mulayam said.
Mulayam admitted before his cadres that the BJP will be the main opponent in 2017 Assembly elections. “The sand castle of BJP will not last long. People understand that only SP can stop the communal agenda of BJP. You remain watchful as people are waking up to the reality that BJP has cheated them,” he stated.
This marks the first time the SP has taken a proactive stand on panchayat elections. In the past, both the party top brass and its local leaders did not directly participate in the polls and refrained from taking active interest. But after the BJP’s recent announcement, the SP’s state executive committee members and other leaders who were part of the meeting have been asked to submit a panel of names of probable candidates. The elections include village, block and district panchayat bodies.
SP’s concern assumes importance as soon after the panchayat elections, polls on 36 MLC seats from local bodies segment, in which these panchayat members are voters, will be held. Winning maximum MLC seats will also inch SP closer to a majority in Upper House.
Keeping this in mind, Mulayam also directed partymen to collect application form for MLC seats and deposit it with a fee of Rs 5,000 at the party headquarters. The elections, seemingly, will set the tone for Assembly polls in 2017.
Mulayam also expressed concern over the party’s poor strength at booth level. For the past two years, it has not been able to form booth-level committees, which the SP chief said needs to be dealt with soon. He also took strong note of not holding cadre training camps in the party, saying it is essential for effective development of leadership.
In his old style, Mulayam also targeted the ministers in Akhilesh Yadav’s government, saying that most of them have failed to perform as per expectations. He made it clear that in the Assembly elections, many candidates will be changed. Shifting his focus on Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the party supremo said the CM is working honestly but is not getting the desired support from his ministers.
“Akhilesh is honest but some ministers are spoiling his image. I know each of them. I have a list of such ministers, even MLAs. Already we have lost the Lok Sabha polls. The ministers could not win in their constituencies. BJP is ready with all preparations. They have decided their candidates but we are lagging,” he said, and then rebuked Akhilesh for not taking any actions. “If I was the CM, I would have taken action,” he asserted.
He remarked that he plans to take feedback about the ministers and even officers from party workers. He had voiced similar sentiments on Wednesday while addressing the workers.
In their address, SP leaders maintained their grouse of poor campaigning towards highlighting the achievements of Akhilesh Yadav’s government and hence responsibilities were given for holding awareness meetings at block level between February 7-15.
Akhilesh chose defense as a measure to tackle the criticisms. “We are not getting our share of funds from the central government. Our power quota has been reduced while coal supply has been snapped. Central government and its ministers are not even responding to my letters.” He advised legislators to maintain direct contact with the voters.
SP’s national general secretary, Ramgopal Yadav strictly ordered that details about the meeting will not be leaked to the media. “You people should learn from BSP where media gets no internal report. If anybody leaks anything to the media, action will be taken,” he said.