The Samajwadi Party is set to intensify its campaign for consolidating its support base among Dalits and OBCs. The party is buoyed by the results of bypolls to two seats of UP Legislative Council on Monday.
“The Samajwadi Party was aware that it lacks the numbers and cannot win the elections, yet we fielded a candidate from the SC community and the other from the OBC group to send across the message to disadvantaged sections of society that their status in power structure is being compromised under the BJP rule and that SCs and OBCs are denied their right of reservation in state services,” a Samajwadi Party leader said, adding: “We will take this message to every nook and corner of the state in the coming months.”
SP sources said that “the poaching attempts” made by the BJP proved futile and the SP-RLD alliance succeeded in keeping its flock together. The strength of the SP-RLD alliance is 118. Two MLAs were in jail and one could not cast his vote due to being hospitalised. One candidate of the SP polled 115 and the other got 116 votes.
“We forced the BJP to suspend its programme of preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and hold meetings with the party MLAs and keep them in good humour so that they remain loyal to the party while casting their votes in the bypoll,” a Samajwadi Party leader said.
The landslide victory of the Congress in Karnataka state assembly elections has, however, posed a challenge for the Samajwadi Party.
The en bloc Muslim vote by Muslims to the Congress decimated the Janata Dal (Secular) which had given tickets to 22 Muslim candidates but they all lost. The SP apprehends that it is likely to have a spillover effect and Muslims may turn to Congress in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
After the Karnataka state assembly results, the Samajwadi Party has toned down its rhetoric against the Congress. Earlier, Akhilesh Yadav was asking the Congress to support regional parties where they were in a position to challenge the hegemony of the BJP.
Akhilesh had also said that the Congress should decide its role in the Lok Sabha elections — whether or not it wanted to support the SP in the electoral battle against the BJP. Though the Samajwadi Party has not officially stated its position, it is no longer aspiring for the lead role in formation of an opposition alliance in UP.