Samajwadi Party scouting for partners for UP 2022 polls after drubbing in by-elections

The beginning will be made with a possible alliance with Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), an outfit floated by Akhilesh Yadav’s estranged uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav

SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav (PTI)
SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav (PTI)

NH Correspondent/Lucknow

In April this year, Samajwadi Party’s national president Akhilesh Yadav had declared that his party will contest the 2022 assembly elections on its own. However, after the drubbing it got in the recent by-elections, the party has decided to review its poll strategy and is ready to go with smaller parties.

The beginning will be made with a possible alliance with Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia), an outfit floated by Akhilesh Yadav’s estranged uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav. Senior party leaders say that Akhilesh Yadav has given a go ahead after getting a positive response from Shivpal Singh Yadav.

“The alliance between chacha and bhatija may prevent division of votes in central Uttar Pradesh dominated by Yadavs which is considered as a stronghold of the Yadav family,” a senior SP leader and party lawmaker said.  “Ïn the last elections, the BJP had taken advantage of this division of votes between Shivpal and Akhilesh. If this division could be prevented, we can win the initial battle,” he said.

What made Akhilesh change his mind is the Bihar result where smaller parties played a decisive role. A timely alliance with small parties helped BJP and JD(U) to retain power in the state.

“The Bihar election results are a big lesson for us. The mantra of success is to understand the ground realities and forge an alliance. The time has come to look for alliance with parties that has representation in Dalit and backward classes,” the SP law maker said.

The SP might have a local tie-up with RLD and Mahan Dal in western UP though questions are being raised within Samajwadi Party over the future of such an alliance between SP and RLD after recent by-elections where SP had left the Bulandshahr seat to RLD and the alliance came fourth.

“The alliance with RLD could be under the scanner but the recent bye-elections to seven UP Assembly seats have shown that a split in non-BJP votes has ultimately benefited the ruling BJP,” the lawmaker said.

An analysis of past elections shows that in the 2012 UP assembly polls, over 200 registered parties had fielded their candidates, while in 2017 around 300 parties, a majority of them caste based, entered the electoral field. A majority of these parties bit the dust, but some which entered into an alliance with big parties survived.

Party mandarins in Samajwadi Party might be talking about the possibility of alliances, but the party's performance under Akhilesh Yadav while fighting polls under alliances has been rather pathetic. The SP had tied up with the Congress in the 2017 UP assembly polls and with the BSP in 2019 Lok Sabha polls but on both occasions it failed to halt the BJP juggernaut.

On the other hand, the BJP had tied up with Apna Dal (S) headed by Anupriya Patel and with Shuheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) led by Om Prakash Rajbhar keeping in mind their clout among Kurmi and extremely backward classes respectively and this was very successful.

The parties which might be up in demand in 2022 elections could be Chandrashekhar Azad's Bhim Army party, Owaisi's All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party, Qaumi Ekta Dal of gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari and Peace Party headed by Dr Ayub.

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