At a time when the party should be focusing on organizational strengthening, the turf war is demotivating the cadre on ground.

 

New Delhi: As the cold war between Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle and party’s Jaswant Nagar MLA Shivpal Singh Yadav reached a new height as the later dared Akhilesh Yadav to expel him from the party, the party’s cadre want the episode to end forever as it is damaging its plans to overhaul the structure and district units after the loss in the assembly polls. Senior party leaders are tight-lipped on the issue, but agree that the message is not going right on the ground due to the ongoing tussle.
Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Juhi Singh, party national spokesperson, said, “Shivpal Yadav is a very senior leader of the party. He won on the symbol of Samajwadi Party, and worked with it and had direct communication with our leader Akhilesh Yadav. I believe it is Shivpal Yadav who can only tell what is the issue. As far as we are concerned, the rank and file of the party stands with the decision of our leader Akhilesh Yadav.” Other party leaders said the same, but agreed that at a time when after the Assembly elections, the party ideally should be looking at issues to corner the state government, focused on strengthening the party organization and analyzing the Assembly seat wise performance, the issue is unnecessarily affecting it. Repeated attempts to contact Shivpal Singh Yadav were not successful.
The strain in the relationship between the two leaders started long back when Akhilesh Yadav was the Chief Minister of the state and Shivpal was the Public Works Development(PWD) minister in 2016. Akhilesh Yadav cornered his uncle in the party and that led to Shivpal Singh Yadav launching his own party, PSP-L (Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia), before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Before the 2022 Assembly elections, Shivpal joined hands with Akhilesh Yadav and fought on party symbols from his traditional Jaswant Nagar seat. But, after the results, Shivpal Singh Yadav claimed that he had not been invited to the SP’s legislature party meeting where Akhilesh Yadav was unanimously elected as the leader.
“Shivpal should be expelled immediately. His behavior in the last six years had not done anything good for the party. At a time when we should be discussing our failures in the assembly polls and what went wrong, we are discussing this issue,” said a party leader based in New Delhi who wished to be unnamed.
After the Assembly results, Shivpal, claiming that he has been repeatedly sidelined from the party’s decision making process, had said that he will take a call after Akhilesh Yadav’s action. In the 2022 Assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party which was hoping to emerge victorious won only 111 Assembly segments in 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 255 seats on its own with a vote share of more than 41 percent. Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Satish Kumar Jha, a noted political scientist who had closely followed Uttar Pradesh, said, “Samajwadi Party will lose the game against the ruling BJP if it remains involved in these issues. We all know that the SP is a family based party; if the leader Akhilesh Yadav is not able to resolve the differences with his own uncle, how would he remain a challenger to the BJP for the next five years. We have seen in Gujarat, how after a reasonable show in 2017 polls, the Congress failed to make an impact in the last four-and-a-half years.”