His unanimous approval as the chief of Janata Parivar notwithstanding, Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav’s supporters from the party’s Bihar unit are slowly opening up to “ill-treatments” by the Parivar’s other two significants, Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav.
In a heartfelt rendition detailing his colleagues’ “current position”, SP’s Bihar chief Ramchandra Yadav, who recently met Mulayam in Lucknow, recalled that SP leaders have “no value” before Nitish and Lalu, and that the JD(U) and RJD leaders are managing it quite well by getting their followers appointed as office-bearers at the district level. When Ramchandra had finished pouring his heart out, Mulayam offered his advise: “bear it,” and told the leader that “the eldest in the family is often the one facing the difficulties”.
Visibly upset over the party chief’s assurance, Ramchandra put his foot down: “sirf pyar sey party nahi chalegi”, and gave a list of 27 Assembly seats to Mulayam which, according to him, the SP should contest on during the upcoming elections in Bihar for — the leader emphasised — “the party’s survival”.
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“I am too much pained at the treatment meted out to us by Nitish and Lalu. We have no importance and do not get any respect from them barring a few adjustments for the elections,” Ramchandra told The Indian Express.
Citing an example of the “injustice” that the SP is facing under the flag of Janata Parivar, Ramchandra pointed out the seat-sharing for the upcoming elections on the 24 MLC seats in Bihar. According to him, JD(U) and RJD have divided 20 seats between themselves, given three seats to Congress and one to Sharad Pawar’s NCP. Samajwadi Party does not figure in their calculation.
“At least they could have said that in future, the SP will also be considered but they did not offer any such customary statement. Don’t give us any seat but at least give us some respect. We are feeling neglected,” said the leader who himself held the Bhabhua seat as an MLA in 2005.
About his meeting with Mulayam at the latter’s residence on Friday last week, he said: “I told (Mulayam) about our situation. We are not given any respect by Nitish and Lalu and are treated as untouchables in the alliance. I gave a list of 27 seats on which SP should contest Assembly polls (in Bihar) if it wants to survive in the coming days.”
Ramchandra’s agony increases manifold when he describes Mulayam’s stature and then compares it with the party’s leaders in Bihar. “Mulayam is like our father and the party is our mother, but its sons are being ignored here. This, when they (Janata Parivar) are using Mulayam’s picture for poll campaign. Even Nitish Kumar became the Chief Minister following Jeetan Ram Manjhi’s step-down only after Mulayam’s intervention,” he said, and claimed that he has met both Nitish and Lalu “twice” but did not get any response. “They are not at all bothered about us. Nobody talks to us.”
The remedy? “We will welcome if anyone from Mulayam’s family contests on SP symbol from Bihar. It is the only way out to defeat communal forces,” he said. There are unconfirmed reports that Rajlaxmi Yadav, Lalu’s daughter who is married to Mainpuri MP Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, may contest Assembly polls as an SP candidate.
The leader conceded that Mulayam asked him to have patience. “Netaji asked me to bear it as the eldest in the family has to face the maximum difficulties and in future things may get better,” he quoted the SP chief.
In Bihar, the SP had contested on 146 seats in 2010 but all its candidates lost their security deposits and the party could only secure 1.60 lakh votes.
Earlier, in 2005, the SP had contested on 142 seats and won four — Sikta, Phulparas, Kasba and Dumraon — and managed 6.5 lakh votes. Elections were again held in the same year in October in which the party contested on 158 seats, secured 5.94 lakh votes but won only two — Phulparas and Thakurganj.
FIve years before that, in 2000, the party failed to win any seat after nominating candidates for 122, 118 of whom lost their security deposits.
For 2015, any decision on whether the SP would contest the polls alone “will be taken by Mulayam” said Rajendra Chaudhary, party’s UP spokesperson and Cabinet minister. “Any issue will be sorted out by our leadership. Any decision on Bihar polls will be taken by Mulayam. Socialists have chosen him as their leader,” he said.