SP leaders were openly demanding that Akhilesh Yadav should return the party’s leadership to his father as he had promised.
Lucknow: A day after election results were declared, knives were out for SP president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday for the Samajwadi Party’s humiliating loss in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, but party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav defended his son, saying “no one person is responsible for the defeat”.
SP leaders were openly demanding that Akhilesh Yadav should return the party’s leadership to his father as he had promised. SP MLC Madhukar Jetley said, “The events of the past six months have contributed to the party’s debacle. Mulayam Singh Yadav is the founder president of the party and his respect should be restored at all costs”.
But Mulayam Singh Yadav refused to blame Akhilesh Yadav for the debacle. “We failed to convince voters,” he told reporters on arriving at his native village Saifai for Holi.
“Everyone is responsible for the loss. A single person cannot be blamed... It was people’s inclination towards BJP as it has made a lot of promises. Let us see how many promises they fulfill,” said Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was ousted by his son as party chief after the power tussle in the family last year.
The BJP emerged as the single largest party in the state with 312 seats, while its allies Apna Dal (Soneylal Patel) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party bagged nine and four seats respectively. The SP was relegated to a distant second with 47 seats and its ally, the Congress, won seven seats.
But the turmoil in the party after the poll debacle is evident. Senior leader Chandra Prakash Rai wrote on his Facebook page: “Ram Gopal Yadav ne party aur Akhilesh Yadav ko kahan se kahan pahuncha diya (Ram Gopal Yadav) is responsible for the downfall of the party and Akhilesh YadaV).”
He later told reporters that the recent events within the party had spelt doom in the elections and Mulayam Singh Yadav should be given the party’s leadership so that lost glory can be restored.
Mulayam Singh’s borther and former minister Shivpal Yadav, in the eye of the storm with Akhilesh Singh Yadav, tweeted “Hum phir ladkar jitenge (We will rebound)” and posted a video with a verse: “Charitra jab hai pavitra tera, to kyon hai yeh dasha teri/ Yeh papiyon ko haq nahin, ki wo lein parksha teri”.
Two senior party leaders, who did not wish to be identified, also said that the former chief minister should now call off his “experiment” and return the party president’s post to his father.
Akhilesh Yadav held an informal meeting with his supporters at the Janeshwar Misra Trust office on Sunday. His close aide and MLC Sunil Sajan said the party would introspect after Holi on the reasons for the poor performance in the elections.
During the meeting, Akhilesh Yadav told partymen that the Samajwadi Party was not only a party, but an ideology, and that “our struggle will continue”.
“You all should reach out to people and strengthen the party again. I will review party’s performance and analyse the results. A meeting of all the party candidates and MLAs will be held next week, after which we will devise our new strategy,” he said.