The Samajwadi Party failed to retain Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family bastion Etawah as two of the three Assembly seats went to the BJP. The only winner, Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav, kept a low profile after winning Jaswant Nagar. Shivpal, who was locked in a bitter feud with nephew Akhilesh throughout the election, only said: “Yeh Samajwad ki nahi, ghamand ki haar hai (This is not the Samajwadi’s loss, it is the loss of arrogance).”
The Samajwadi lost Etawah Sadar and Bharthana to two BJP women candidates. The party office was deserted in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s native town Saifai. “Auraton se haar gaye inke sher. Sher toh sirf Shivpal nikle (The Samajwadi tigers lost to women. Only Shivpal has emerged a tiger),” laughed Mahesh Chandra Yadav outside the counting centre at Mandi Samiti in Etawah.
At the party office in Etawah, no one turned up. “Aap hi pehle ho jo subah se aaye ho (you are the only one who has been here since morning),” Kailash Nath Gupta, a 67-year-old who has supported the party since he was 16, said. He attributed the loss of the party to the family’s internal clash. “Only Shivpal and Netaji had genuine affection for the people of Etawah. It was bound to happen in this scenario,” he said.
At Mulayam’s native home in Saifai, all had left for Lucknow on Friday, except for Abhay Ram Yadav, Mulayam’s brother and father of Samajwadi MP Dharmendra Yadav. He was sitting in the dairy 100 meters from the house. Elderly Abhay Ram refused to comment on the staggering loss the Samajwadi suffered, saying he was not concerned with politics. “What can I say. You know everything,” Abhay Ram said with a smile.
Some kids playing outside the dairy, however, gave away the mood. “Lag gai naukri, mil gaya laptop. SAPA ho gai Safa (Got the jobs, got the laptops. SP has been wiped away).” Job creation has been on the lips of several political parties in this campaign, but the laptop sop is indelibly attached to Akhilesh’s campaign. In Etawah, Hari Ram Yadav, who was watching television at the BJP office, said he has voted for the SP but was happy with the BJP’s landslide victory, and that Uttar Pradesh would not get a hung House.
Like Kailash Nath, he too blamed the family feud, in general, and Akhilesh, specifically. “Akhilesh was bound to lose this time as family couldn’t be neglected like this. But if he hadn’t tied up with the Congress, the loss wouldn’t have been so embarrassing,” Hari Ram said.
The Etawah Sadar seat was won by the BJP’s Sarita Bhadauria against the Samajwadi’s Kuldeep Gupta. BJP’s Savitri Katheria won Bharthana. At the house of Akhilesh’s uncle Ram Gopal Yadav, on the main road in Saifai, a guard said ‘sahab’ was watching TV and would not come out. Ramgopal, an Akhilesh loyalist who was in Saifai the entire day, stayed confined to his home and didn’t even go to Mainpuri, where the Samajwadi was doing better.
In Mainpuri’s Bhongaon constituency, where Mulayam always got the lowest number of votes in Lok Sabha polls compared to other segments, the BJP’s Ram Naresh Agnihotri won. In Mainpuri Sadar, Raju Yadav won. Sobaran Singh Yadav retained his seat, Karhal. The Kishni constituency was won by Samajwadi’s Brijesh Katheria.
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