Even as a whisper campaign is growing in Samajwadi Party for fixing accountability for three successive defeats (2014, 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 2017 assembly polls), politics remains business as usual for the principal opposition party of Uttar Pradesh.
Far from carrying out even the ritualistic review after the drubbing it received in the elections, the SP remains in denial mode vis-à-vis factors leading to its crushing defeat in the recent polls despite its alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party.
During his visit to Azamgarh on June 3, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had sought to put the blame on Bharatiya Janata Party, saying it was a battle between “Ferrari and a bicycle” and hence the party was no match to the resources and aggressive campaigning by the BJP.
A section of party leaders, particularly those denied an opportunity to contest the Lok Sabha election due to SP’s alliance with the BSP and Rashtriya Lok Dal, is of the view that the rank and file of the party should muster courage to call spade a spade and this should be done before the announcement of bypolls to 11 Assembly seats in UP.
“Time has come for us to catch the bull by the horn. Akhilesh has to step down.., only then there can be a fair and objective review of the party’s debacle in recent elections and the process for rapprochement in the first family of can be initiated,” a SP MLA said.
Rattled by the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha poll, a Samajwadi Party MP said, “We were so complacent that we never even attempted to look into the crucial issue of whether votes of the BSP will be transferred to Samajwadi Party, and we paid the price for this.”
“The SP has lost three elections back to back. The first in 2014 (Lok Sabha poll) when Akhilesh Yadav was the chief minister, the second in 2017 (UP assembly poll) when he was both chief minister and SP president and again in 2019. Yet it never occurred to the party brass that there should be exhaustive analysis and review of causes of the rout,” a SP leader said.
He wondered how could there be a cogent strategy for future elections without review of causes for the crushing defeats in three previous elections in the last five years.
Another SP leader said, “Mayawati carried out a quick review after the Lok Sabha election and lost no time in snapping ties with SP. She did not spare the SP and levelled baseless charges against us and even sermonised us about electoral politics and how we should run our party. Yet none in the party had the courage to give a befitting reply to the utter lies of the BSP chief.”
Mayawati had blamed alliance partner SP for the poll debacle in UP, saying that the party had failed to transfer its traditional votes to the BSP.
Countering Mayawati’s charge, the SP leader said, “Out of the 10 BSP candidates elected to the Lok Sabha, nine received more than 50 percent of the total votes in their constituencies and this was not possible without the transfer of SP votes to BSP.”
The leader dismissed news reports that SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav has taken over the reins of the party and has asked son Akhilesh Yadav to bury the hatchet with uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, saying it was a figment of imagination
“Had Akhilesh Yadav paid attention to the advice of his father, we would have been in a much better position than we are in today,” the SP leader said.