NEW DELHI: Keeping in view the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Samajwadi Party (SP), the main opposition party in Uttar Pradesh, is planning to increase its national signature after many other state parties have showing keen interest to strengthen their presence at the national level. Party leaders believe that the party already is a major player in national politics. “However, our focus will now be to increase our presence in Parliament and expand beyond the UP borders,” a source privy to the developments said.
Party insiders say the expansion plan of the party was the dream of Mulayam Singh Yadav as he wished the Samajwadi Party to make a stronger foothold at the national level. The idea to go national was recently heard to have been echoed by Akhilesh Yadav when he had said, “We will fulfil the dream of Mulayam Singh Yadav to make the party national.”
Political analysts said the party helmed by Akhilesh Yadav has shown less political maturity in recent times. “A state which has 80 odd Lok Sabha seats would require him to focus on his home state and win as many seats there so that he could emerge as someone who would be taken seriously in national politics afterwards,” a political expert said.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Sanjay Lather told The Sunday Guardian, “Yes, we are planning to focus on states beyond UP. We already had and still have some MLAs in various states. Our party units are in more than 15 sates. Moreover, if you see votes in last general elections, you will find that Congress in 9 states in North India got 3 crore 77 lakh votes and SP got 2 crore 97 lakh votes (most votes from Uttar Pradesh). The SP is already a big party in the national arena. And yes, we will fully focus on strengthening various state units in coming times.”
The party, after assessing the recent Assembly elections of 2022 in UP, has also found that if all the votes polled were viewed in the setting of general elections, the SP would have been a clear winner on about 25 seats. The party leaders believe there will be a tough fight with the saffron dispensation to become a determining factor, as UP has the largest number of Lok Sabha seats.
Lather added, “There are 26 other Lok Sabha seats where if all the votes polled for SP in the Assembly elections are taken into consideration, we are losing by less than 50,000 votes, which is not a big gap at all in Lok Sabha elections. Besides this, we won’t focus only on these seats, but on all 80 Lok sabha seats.”
However, experts say, Lok Sabha election is a completely different game and “what applies in Assembly elections does not apply to the Lok Sabha election; the sentiments are completely different in both the elections. “For instance, Congress won 2018 Assembly elections in Rajasthan, yet drew a blank in general elections in the following year,” an expert said.
A political consultant based in Uttar Pradesh told The Sunday Guardian, “Samajwadi Party runs good elections in Uttar Pradesh and adjoining areas. For example, in Madhya Pradesh there are some zillas, where there is a Yadav belt and they contest elections strongly there. In Bihar, voters have an option in Lalu Yadav’s RJD, that is why they don’t have much impact in Bihar; otherwise, there is no impact of the party in other states.”