Five questions to make sense of the crisis in Samajwadi Party
Samajwadi Party celebrated its 25th Foundation Day on November 5 this year. Barely two months later, it appears teetering on the brink
Even as Lucknow braces itself for a dramatic beginning of the New Year, here are five pointers to understand the crisis that has engulfed the state’s ruling Samajwadi Party after party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav expelled his son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and cousin Ram Gopal Yadav for six years from the party for weakening SP.
What triggered the crisis?
Mulayam Singh Yadav first released, apparently unilaterally, a list of 393 candidates for the UP Assembly election, expected to take place in March-April, 2017. The party constitution says the candidates are to be finalised by the party’s Parliamentary Board. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav retaliated by releasing a list of 235 candidates and Ram Gopal Verma convened an emergency session of the party’s national convention on Sunday, a decision that can be taken only by the party president, according to the SP’s constitution.
Will Akhilesh Yadav remain the CM?
He can continue as long as he enjoys the support of the majority of the MLAs in the Assembly. The Governor can ask him to prove his strength in a floor test. The Governor can also recommend dissolution of the House and imposition of President’s Rule.
Will the party split?
It will split only if sufficiently large number of MLAs display divided loyalty. Akhilesh Yadav’s list retains 171 out of the 229 sitting SP MLAs in the UP Assembly and dropped 58 sitting MLAs. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s list has dropped 74 sitting MLAs.
In case the party splits, who will get the party symbol, the bicycle?
The Election Commission normally takes three-four months to decide which faction enjoys the confidence of the majority within the organisation. Since the election to the UP Assembly has to be held before May 28, the EC is expected to freeze the symbol and allot ad-hoc symbols to the two factions.
Is there any method in the madness?
While some commentators believe Mulayam Singh Yadav precipitated the crisis at the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (supposedly because he has been assured that he will be the new incumbent in the Rashtrapati Bhavan next year), others suggest that the well-orchestrated drama is designed to help Akhilesh Yadav emerge as a newly minted leader without the old baggage of the party and allow him to play the victim. A few comments in the media suggest that the two factions would come together after the election. While some commentators have said that even if Akhilesh Yadav loses in the assembly election, it will still help him emerge as a new, young leader with a clean record.