Trouble is brewing for the Samajwadi Party as its allies have started questioning the political competence of Akhilesh Yadav following the debacle in the Rampur and Azamgarh bypolls.
“The Samajwadi Party cannot afford to lose Azamgarh. Chaudhary Charan used to call Azamgarh as the centre of Samajwadi politics and that he could afford to lose Baghpat, but Azamgarh never,” Om Prakash Rajbhar, president of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, an ally of the SP.
“Akhilesh Yadav should come out of the comfort of air-conditioned rooms and hit the ground running. For the BJP, politics is a 24X 7 engagement and the SP chief should also borrow the idea from the ruling party — take the plunge and catch the bull of electoral politics by its horn,” Rajbhar said.
“Akhilesh Yadav must have campaigned in Rampur and Azamgarh. If the engine remains stationary, how will the train move? Akhilesh visited Azamgarh nine times during the recent assembly elections and conducted 13 public meetings. But in the Lok Sabha bypolls, he did not visit the twin constituencies even once. The debacle in Rampur and Azamgarh will have ramifications for the SP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Akhilesh should be more accessible to his party cadre and focus on strengthening the organisation at the grassroots level,” Rajbhar added.
He said that the SP owes an explanation to its rank and file and the allies as to why its candidates fared poorly in Rampur and Azamgarh.
Shivpal Yadav, the estranged uncle of Akhilesh Yadav, advised the SP president to honour the mandate given by the people of Rampur and Azamgarh.
“Nobody from the Samajwadi party contacted me for the Rampur and Azamgarh byelections and I have been sitting idle since UP assembly elections concluded in March,” he said.
Sanjay Chauhan of Janwadi Socialist Party also slammed the SP chief. Questioning the style of functioning of Akhilesh, he said: “Akhilesh Yadav prefers to conduct his politics through social media, particularly through Twitter . He should respond to the need of the hour and hit the ground running. Instead of relying on a kitchen cabinet comprising rootless wonders, he should rely more on people who have their ears close to the ground.”
Chauhan also criticised Akhilesh for nominating Swami Prasad Maurya to the UP Legislative Council.
“It was an imprudent move by Akhilesh Yadav to oblige a turncoat who defected to the SP from BJP ahead of the UP assembly elections and lost from Kushinagar, and yet nominated to the council. As long as the non-Yadav OBCs are firmly mobilised behind the BJP, the SP can never win the UP assembly elections. Akhilesh has failed to comprehend this ground reality of UP’s electoral politics,” Chauhan said.
President of Mahan Dal and former ally of the Samajwadi Party Keshav Dev Maurya said: “The electoral strategy of the SP for Rampur and Azamgarh was full of loopholes without addressing which the party can never win any election.”
Maurya added: “Akhilesh Yadav is a reluctant leader and is shy of hard work. How can he win an election?”
Dismissing the charges leveled by Akhilesh against the BJP government about the misuse of official machinery in Rampur and Azamgarh, Maurya said: “During the 2017 UP assembly elections. The SP was in power, yet the BJP and its allies won 325 out of 403 seats. Such allegations lack conviction are only for public consumption.”