Bereft of a stable leadership and saddled with the indifference of its president Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi party in Uttar Pradesh is starting to crack. The 47-member party faced its first desertion last week when two sitting members of the UP Legislative Council resigned from the membership and joined the BJP.
One more MLC, Sarojini Agarwal, quit the SP to join the BJP on Friday, complaining of suffocation after the end of the Mulayam era in the party.
The MLCs, Yeshwant Singh, an old acolyte of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, and Bhukkal Nawab, an associate of Mulayam Singh Yadav, said that they were feeling “stifled” in the Samajwadi Party.
“I was being troubled by officials since the past one year but Akhilesh Yadav never even spoke to me,” said Bhukkal Nawab.
Yeshwant Singh said: “Akhilesh Yadav gave a speech in the Legislative Council where he praised China and derided India. I immediately decided that there was no point staying in a party that lacks nationalist values.”
A senior SP leader said: “Akhilesh’s coterie, which includes some ‘blind wonders’, have told him to wait till the next elections and that is what he is doing.”
Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah, during his recent three-day visit to Lucknow, has asked party leaders to focus on the Yadav community and the target, once again, are the Yadav MLAs.
The Samajwadi Party has 13 Yadav legislators and the BJP will now try to woo the “weak links”. The BJP in Uttar Pradesh does not have a Yadav face and efforts are now on to bring up a Yadav leader who can bring his community into the party fold.
Shah, in a significant move, launched his “woo Yadav” campaign by choosing to have lunch at the residence of a booth level worker, Sonu Yadav in Lucknow.
The BJP president, according to party sources, has asked leaders to identify at least one prominent Yadav leader in every district. The booth level workers have also been directed to woo Yadavs and Dalits and register them as members at booth levels.
A party functionary explained, “Though the Yadavs voted for the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, some of them returned to the Samajwadi Party in the 2017 Assembly elections. We now wish to consolidate the Yadavs in our favour and we will be working on this mission.”
The party will focus on the Yadav belt in the state that includes Etawah, Etah, Mainpuri, Ferozabad, Kannauj and Azamgarh.
It was in this belt that the Samajwadi Party had won five seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when it lost in the rest of the state.
SP leader Shivpal Yadav categorically says, “It is only Netaji (Mulayam Singh) who can save the party and also build up a formidable alliance. Akhilesh should realise this and hand back the reins of the party to his father.”