In an unusual move that outlined the SP’s roadmap for the months leading to the 2019 elections, its national president Akhilesh Yadav asked the party’s top leadership to submit written feedback on forming alliances with other parties in Uttar Pradesh and other states.
Top party sources told The Sunday Express that the party asked leaders who attended a meeting of its national executive committee in Lucknow Saturday to fill feedback forms with their opinions on alliances and sharing of seats, along with reasons for supporting or rejecting tie-ups with specific parties.
Sources said that a majority of the members appeared to support the idea of forming alliances while stressing that the “SP’s identity should be maintained”.
“The forms filled by the members have been submitted. The party’s national president, Akhilesh Yadav, will study the feedback and take decisions on alliances. Many of us have supported the idea of alliances because we feel that only a united force can defeat the BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections,” said an SP leader who attended the meeting.
However, the gathering was a low-ley affair with hardly any party workers seen inside or outside the venue — the party’ headquarters — during and before the meeting. Even in the meeting, two prominent faces — founder patron Mulayam Singh Yadav and his younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav — were conspicuous by their absence. Party sources claimed that both are not members of the national executive.
Later, speaking to reporters, SP principal general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said the national executive has empowered Akhilesh to take decisions on forming alliances and sharing seats in assembly polls of various states and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“Whatever decision the party president will take, that will be acceptable to the party,” Ram Gopal said.
According to sources, Akhilesh said at the meeting that the SP is a “democratic party”, which is why he is collecting written feedback so that no one can complain about decisions being taken without consultations. Placing the focus on UP, Akhilesh directed leaders to strengthen the SP’s base at every booth, sources said.
The SP also passed a resolution thanking voters for supporting its winning candidates in the Lok Sabha bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, and the assembly bypoll in Noorpur, and for ensuring the victory of the SP-backed RLD candidate in Kairana.
The SP candidates in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Noorpur had been supported by Mayawati’s BSP. The SP is now likely to forge an alliance with RLD in western UP, sources said. Ram Gopal, meanwhile, said the party would demand that the Election Commission hold the next general elections using ballot papers instead of EVMs. He said that the SP will seek support of other parties on the matter and stage an agitation if EC does not meet the demand.