India

Uttar Pradesh: Akhilesh at crossroads as his experiment fails again

The SP stands vanquished in Lok Sabha polls. The leaders have started questioning Akhilesh’s political sagacity. The big question leaders are asking is--what will happen to the SP-BSP alliance?

Akhilesh Yadav with wife Dimple Yadav (IANS Photo)
Akhilesh Yadav with wife Dimple Yadav (IANS Photo)

Biswajeet Banerjee

The Lok Sabha results have come as a shocker for Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh. The three partners of this alliance Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and RLD were decimated in the battle of ballots. Despite such ignominious defeat, the BSP can walk with its head high – if you can say so- because the party won 10 seats whereas it had drawn blank in 2014 election. But it is Akhilesh Yadav who faces bigger question because his family members lost election and he has failed to increase his tally

In 2014, general election, the Samajwadi Party had won 5 seats – all the winners at that time were members of the Yadav clan. Besides, Mulayam (who had won from Mainpuri and Azamgarh) and other family members of Akhilesh namely Dimple Yadav and his two cousins Dharmendra and Akshay had won elections. In bye-election, after Mulayam vacated Mainpuri, another cousin of Akhilesh, Tej Bahadur won election.  The Party’s tally further increased to seven after it won bye-elections of Gorakhpur and Phulpur in 2018.

In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party again won five seats. But this time, Dimple Yadav (Kannauj), Dharmendra Yadav (Budaun) and Akshay Yadav (Firozabad) lost elections. Besides Akhilesh (Azamgarh), and Mulayam Singh Yadav (Mainpuri) three Muslim leaders Azam Khan (Rampur), Shafiqur Rahman Warq (Sambhal) and S.T. Hasan (Moradabad) emerged as winners.

The defeat of Samajwadi Party is bound to raise many questions now. It is the second time the party had contested election under Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership. In 2017 when he took over the party’s control and entered into an alliance with the Congress and contested assembly election, the party’s tally reduced from 226 to 47. In 2019, he entered into an alliance with the BSP and contested Lok Sabha election and his party’s performance proved to be pathetic. He not only lost seats but the vote percentage also came down (SP’s vote percentage is 16% while BSP vote percentage is 19% and the BJP vote percentage rose to 50% ).

The party leaders have already started questioning Akhilesh Yadav’s wisdom in entering into an alliance with Mayawati. Not only small-time leaders, but Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav also had said that Akhilesh has lost half the battle when he entered into an alliance with Mayawati. He had even admonished his son saying that Samajwadi Party is not battle-ready as it is relying too much on Mayawati whereas the BJP had started groundwork almost a year back.

Mulayam’s words have proved prophetic. The SP stands vanquished. The leaders have started questioning Akhilesh’s political sagacity. The big question leaders are asking is-what will happen to the SP-BSP alliance? Will it continue till 2022? If yes, what will be the modalities and if no, Akhilesh should call it quits. Earlier, the better.

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