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SP leaders blame Akhilesh for party’s crushing defeat
Voices of dissent have started appearing in the Samajwadi Party after its crushing defeat in the State Assembly elections. The party leaders have asked for open debate on the poll debacle and fixing the responsibility for the ignominious defeat of the party in the battle of hustings.
The SP virtually crashed from its tally of 224 in 2012 to 47 seats in 2017 polls. The party had put behind an acrimonious power struggle and deep fault lines over leadership issues in Government and the ruling family just before the State poll hoping to retain power.
In backdrop of bickering and fighting spilling out on the Lucknow streets flanking the SP headquarters and CM residence, SP patriarch and founder Mulayam Singh Yadav was removed from the post of party president and replaced by the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in a specially convened national convention of the party on January 1 this year.
In the fast turn of events, Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal Yadav on Saturday had fired a salvo against his nephew Akhilesh Yadav saying, “It’s not the Samajwadi Party but the arrogance of the party leadership has been defeated’’.
SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on same day not only endorsed his brother Shivpal Yadav also blamed the alliance of the SP with the Congress as the sole reason for the worst ever performance of the party in Assembly election.
Madhukar Jaitly, SP MLC and a close aide of Mulayam Singh Yadav said here on Sunday that “Mulayam Singh is the founder president of the party, he was humiliated by the party leaders and his honour must be restored and he should take over as the national president of the party’’.
Without naming any leader he said, “In politics, if the leader claims credit for the victory of the party then they should also bear the responsibility for the most humiliating defeat of the party in the most crucial election in the history of the party’’. Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday had refused to own the responsibility for the party’s defeat saying he would comment on this issue after making polling booth wise analysis of the election results.
Another Mulayam’s confidante, who was marginalised by Akhilesh Yadav after taking over as national president is CP Rai. He has demanded from Akhilesh Yadav to honour his words and restore Mulayam Singh as the national president of the party.
Before the Assembly elections Akhilesh had declared that he would hold the office of the national president only for three months and later hand over the reins of party to his father.
On Saturday Shivpal, commenting on defeat of the Samajwadi Party in Assembly elections had said it was not the loss of party, but of vanity and arrogance, purportedly hinting at Akhilesh, who had over the past few weeks run the party impunity and rather arbitrarily under the guidance of his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav.
SP sources said that Akhilesh never anticipated that he would have a bloody nose after the elections even after forging a pre-poll alliance with Congress. Both Mulayam and Shivpal had publically flayed the alliance with Congress, yet Akhilesh did not relent. SP and Congress could win only 47 and 7 seats this time compared to their 2012 tally of 224 and 28 respectively. BJP, against its tally of 48 seats in 2012 won 325 seats of the total 403 Assembly seats, which is their best poll performance ever in the State.
Besides, owning the responsibility for the defeat of the party Akhilesh faces another challenge in selecting the leader of Opposition in State Assembly. It would be interesting to see as to who gets the most coveted post for the opposition in the assembly. Akhilesh is not a member of the Legislative Assembly yet, as he did not fight the poll and is currently a member of Legislative council.
Meanwhile the Samajwadi Party has convened the meeting of the newly elected party Legislators here on March 16. The meeting is likely to decide its leader in the State Assembly who will also be the leader of the Opposition.
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