Lucknow, Oct 7 (IANS) The Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh is sinking into the realms of despair. The party leadership is confused, the cadres are hopeless and senior leaders see no future for the party.
A clear indication of this prevailing confusion is the induction of former MP Ramakant Yadav in the party on Sunday.
Ramakant Yadav is better known for his criminal antecedents. Akhilesh Yadav, who had denied entry to another criminal D.P. Yadav in 2012 and then Mukhtar Ansari in 2016, has welcomed Ramakant Yadav into the party fold.
“What do we make of this decision?
“The feud in the party began in 2016 when Shivpal Yadav, the then state president, finalised the merger of Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal into SP. Akhilesh refused to accept the decision and the seeds of division within the party were sown. Today, the same Akhilesh Yadav is welcoming Ramakant Yadav into the party,” said a senior party leader.
Party workers squarely blame Akhilesh Yadav for the exit of senior leaders from SP. Whether it was Ambica Chaudhary or Neeraj Shekhar or Naresh Agarwal, they all were unhappy with Akhilesh Yadav’s leadership.
“After the 2017 debacle in the Assembly elections in which SP was left with 47 seats, we thought that Akhilesh would hand back the baton to Mulayam because he had promised that he would remain party president only for three months.
“But that never happened and Akhilesh kept making one mistake after another,” said the leader.
The party, if sources are to be believed, lost a part of its support base when Akhilesh Yadav forged an alliance with Mayawati.
The first casualty of this alliance was Independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh a.k.a Raja Bhaiyya who had stood like a rock with Samajwadi Party since 2003 when Mulayam Singh Yadav supported him after Mayawati booked Raja Bhaiyya under Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).
“I had always supported Akhilesh even after he took over the party, but I can never support anyone who allies with Mayawati. That is why I severed my ties with the SP even though I continue to respect Mulayam Singh,” said Raja Bhaiyya.
Having burnt his bridges with Congress after the 2017 Assembly debacle and with Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) after the 2019 defeat, Akhilesh now stands completely isolated in Uttar Pradesh politics.
His relationship status with Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) is also uncertain.
Besides, Akhilesh’s refusal to promote an inclusive model in politics has also worked against him.
His growing dependence on OBCs in the party is alienating upper castes. Non-Yadav leaders like Ashok Vajpayee, Neeraj Shekhar, Surendra Nagar, Sanjay Seth, Yeshwant Singh, Sarojini Agarwal and Nitin Agarwal, have left the party while Ravi Shankar Singh Pappu, Ramesh Misra and C.P. Chand are on the way to move out.
“Akhilesh’s party has no room for non-OBCs. Unlike Mulayam Singh who reposed faith in leaders of all communities, Akhilesh does not trust non-Yadavs and this is his biggest shortcoming. Majority of the Thakur leaders have left the party already,” said a party Legislator.
The one major factor that is also rankling party workers is Akhilesh Yadav’s “soft” attitude towards the Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath governments.
“The BJP has given us enough issues, but our party refuses to take to the streets on any one of them.
“Akhilesh does not go beyond press releases and Twitter or Facebook. The party has not launched even a single major agitation in the past 30 months and politics cannot be done through social media.
“Our workers are sitting idle and it will not take much time before they migrate to other parties,” said a party functionary.
Party leaders feel that Akhilesh Yadav should have built up a state level agitation on the issue of Azam Khan who is being targeted by the Yogi government.
“Netaji (Mulayam Singh) himself announced an agitation on the Azam Khan issue, but Akhilesh reduced the exercise to a symbolic protest. If the party cannot stand up for a leader like Azam Khan, then what to say of ordinary workers,” said a former SP Minister.
According to sources close to Mulayam, the veteran leader is “deeply upset” at the manner in which Akhilesh Yadav is “frittering away his goodwill and sidelining prominent leaders”.
Akhilesh Yadav has refused to accept his father’s advice and mend his relationship with his uncle Shivpal Yadav. He has also failed to give due respect to founder leaders like Beni Prasad Varma, Bhagwati Singh and Reoti Raman Singh.
As a former SP Minister put it, “If Akhilesh continues like this, the party will soon be over for him. The reality is staring him in the face and he should see it.”