There is a sense of despondency in Samajwadi Party headquarters in Lucknow after party suffered a massive defeat in the Lok Sabha elections and the way Mayawati broke the alliance blaming Akhilesh Yadav for the defeat.
However, senior Samajwadi leaders see a silver lining in BSP’s unilateral decision to sever ties.
“I am happy at what has happened. At least now Akhilesh Yadav will realise that alliances are not the solution to any political crisis. The Samajwadi Party is a cadre-based party and has a strength in Uttar Pradesh. Ask any leader or worker and they will tell you the same,” a former MP and a senior party leader said.
He is not off the mark. Privately, SP leaders are fuming the way Mayawati has treated Akhilesh. They are questioning Akhilesh’s silence over BSP allegations that SP failed to transfer its votes to BSP candidates.
SP leaders deny the charge though. They come out with facts and figures to say that BSP’s victory in Lalganj, Ghosi and Ghazipur seats is a clear indication that both Muslims and Yadavs have voted for BSP candidates.
Same is true with western Uttar Pradesh too where the alliance won seven seats. It even swept the Moradabad division comprising six parliamentary constituencies where the alliance won all the seats. Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) equally shared seats between themselves.
The SP won constituencies of Moradabad, Sambhal and Rampur – where Azam Khan defeated cine star Jaya Prada. In Moradabad S.T. Hasan defeated his nearest rival Kunwar Sarvesh Singh by a margin of 97,878 votes while in Sambhal Shafiqur Rahman Barq defeated Parmeshwar Lal Saini by 1,74,826 votes.
On the other hand, the BSP won the seats of Amroha, Bijnore and Nagina. In Amroha Danish Ali of BSP defeated Kanwar Singh Tanwar by a margin of over 63,000 votes. In Bijnore, Malook Nagar got better of Raja Bhartendra Singh by 69,941 votes while Girish Chandra defeated Yashwant Singh in Nagina by over 1.66 lakh votes.
All these seats had been held by BJP since 2014.
The seventh seat which alliance won was Saharanpur where the sitting BJP MP Raghav Lakhanpal lost to Haji Fazlur Rahman of BSP by over 22,000 votes.
“Of the seven seats in western Uttar Pradesh, BSP won four. Is it possible for the BSP to win that many seats without Samajwadi Party’s help?” the former MP asked.
Some SP leaders argue that Akhilesh’s “total surrender” before Mayawati had not gone down well with grassroot workers. The BJP’s whisper campaign of Dimple Yadav touching the feet of Mayawati and Mayawati’s nephew just saying ‘namaste’ with folded hands to Mulayam Singh Yadav poisoned the SP cadre’s mind, they say.
“One should not forget the social matrix of Uttar Pradesh and the position of Yadavs and Dalits in the caste hierarchy. The conduct of caste leaders is monitored closely,” another SP leader and a lawmaker said.
The party leaders know that Akhilesh is standing at cross-roads now.
“It’s not too late even now. We can stand and fight again. Akhilesh is carrying the legacy of Mulayam Singh Yadav. He has an example of Ajit Singh who had wasted the political legacy of Chaudhary Charan Singh and reduced the Rashtriya Lok Dal to a political non-entity. Akhilesh should learn lessons from the failure of Ajit Singh and strengthen party,” the SP leaders suggest.
They even say that Akhilesh should try reconciliation in the party and the family.
“The first step should be to handover the baton back to Mulayam Singh Yadav. Shivpal Singh should be brought back. He should listen to the oldies of the party who had built Samajwadi Party with their sweat and blood,” an SP veteran suggests.
Akhilesh knows that pressure is building on him and therefore said that alliance was an experiment which failed.
“I am an engineering student and know that some experiments fail. This failed too. I have asked my party workers to prepare for 2022 elections,” Yadav told a group of reporters on Thursday evening.