LUCKNOW: Shell-shocked Samajwadi Party members met on Sunday to analyse the reasons for their rout in the UP Assembly polls.
While trying to assuage the ‘wounds’ of party workers at the meeting, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav dubbed the defeat as the people’s mandate, holding no one directly responsible for it. However, he was categorical in claiming that the alliance with the Congress affected the Samajwadi Party’s prospects a great deal and that there was no need for the tie-up.
“We were in a position to win the election and form the government on our own,” he reiterated while addressing his partymen at Janeshwar Misra Trust office here in the afternoon.
Mulayam acknowledged that the BJP reached out to the electorate in a convincing manner with more pragmatic promises.
The SP founder, however, exhorted his party workers to get their act together. The Samajwadi Party, whose tally shrunk to a mere 47 seats in the Assembly elections, had romped home in 2012 winning an absolute majority with 224 seats. The party had garnered 29 per cent vote share in the 2012 elections, wresting the UP crown from Mayawati.
But this year, the party, which refused to acknowledge the anti-incumbency wave against it, was confined to only 21.2 per cent vote share. However, it added up to 28 per cent, if the 6.8 per cent of the Congress party was added to it.
Mulayam felt vindicated when he said the alliance harmed the SP in the elections, since he had cautioned son and CM Akhilesh Yadav the very next day the latter had firmed the tie-up with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Ahead of the polls, the SP patriarch had said there was no need for his party to have entered into the alliance, as it had contested the 2012 polls independently and was voted to power. But Akhilesh had paid no heed to his father’s advice then.
“Gathbandhan nahi hota to Samajwadi sarkar banti” (SP would have formed the government on its own if it had not entered into an alliance), he said while reiterating his stand on Sunday.
Talking to the media at another event in Etawah, he said no one person can be held responsible for the party’s poor performance in the elections and there were a host of reasons that led to it.
Earlier in the day, Mulayam held a closed door meeting with Akhilesh at the trust office to assess the reasons for the Samajwadi Party’s dismal performance.
This was his first visit to the office after it was set up almost a year ago housing the party’s war room for the elections.
After the meeting that lasted half-an- hour, Mulayam left for his native village Saifai in Etawah where he celebrates Holi traditionally with his clan.
Akhilesh has called a meeting of all the newly-elected legislators at the party headquarters in Lucknow on March 16 where the name of the Leader of the Opposition would be finalised.
It would be interesting to see who would be assigned the responsibility as the Leader of Opposition especially against the backdrop of the recent family feud in the Yadav clan.