Rattled by the exodus of its Rajya Sabha members, former ministers and other leaders, Samajwadi Party is likely to initiate a massive exercise to overhaul the party organisation to stem the tide.
Three Rajya Sabha members have so far resigned from the SP and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. A few more are likely to follow suit. The defection of former ministers and several other senior SP leaders has unnerved the party brass.
As a first step in the direction, the SP national executive will be dissolved, followed by frontal organisations and district committees. The last national convention of the SP was held in Agra in October 2017. After the convention, the new state executive was not reconstituted and the old office-bearers were retained.
Sources in the SP said that the dissolution of party organisation was likely to reduce the bargaining power of party leaders to negotiate with other parties, particularly the BJP.
The sources maintained that ever since Yogi Adityanath took over as Chief Minister of UP in March 2017, there were many issues on which the government could be cornered but the party failed to do so.
“Had we been proactive at the grassroots level, none would have deserted the party. In fact, leaders from other parties would have joined us. In the last two years, there were many potential issues such as atrocities on Dalits in Saharanpur and the rise of Bhim Army, deaths of children in Gorakhpur medical college hospital, Shiksha Mitra stir following Supreme Court’s decision to cancel their appointment. But our party could not capitalise on any of these issues,” said a senior SP leader.
“Instead of buttressing our role as the main opposition party, the priority was to expanding party’s membership base and ‘Desh Bachao, Desh Banao’ kind of agitations. Senior leaders went to the extent of claiming that the party during the membership drive in 2018, added more than an unbelievable 2.75 crore members. Even the BJP claims of enrolling new members but its figures never went beyond 50 lakh,” the SP leader said.
He rued the day the party decided for an alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party.
“After the 2017 Assembly elections, the BSP leaders made a beeline to join SP and several former ministers and two former state presidents joined the party. Yet we failed to consolidate and walked into the trap of BSP chief Mayawati and joined hands with her. The alliance ended the exodus of BSP leaders to the SP, benefiting Mayawati,” the SP leader said.
“The SP president was overwhelmed with the victory of SP candidates in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and later Kairana Lok Sabha bypolls with BSP support. Today we are paying the price for that error of judgement. There is very little time and we have to act fast in a decisive manner,” the SP leader said.