In a major reform move after facing Lok Sabha poll debacle, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Friday dissolved party’s entire Uttar Pradesh units including the state executive, and district and youth wings, sources said.
The party, however, has retained state president Naresh Uttam. “Party president Akhilesh Yadav has dissolved the state executive. All district executives and the executives of youth and other wings have also been dissolved,” a senior party leader told PTI requesting anonymity. “A new executives will be formed soon.”
The surprise development is being seen as an effort by SP to recover its electoral base after its disappointing performance in the recent Lok Sabha polls, despite stitching a pre-poll alliance with BSP and RLD, where it won just five seats, the same as in 2014. Much to the SP’s chagrin, while its tally remained stuck at five, the tie-up benefitted Mayawati’s BSP, which bagged 10 seats in the state, it drew a blank in 2014 general polls.
The shocking defeat of Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav, who was the sitting MP from Kannauj also shocked the party. Just a day after the Lok Sabha results were declared, the party chief sacked the panel of leaders appointed as spokespersons for TV channels and also said that no TV channel should invite any of them for debate.
A party insider said Akhilesh began churning within the organisation the very day the results were out, with Assembly by-polls not far away, and the bigger target of 2022 Assembly elections in mind. “After the LS polls, party president Akhilesh Yadav has been meeting people and taking feedbacks from party workers and office-bearers. After going through all the aspects, the party executives will be reorganised with new ‘josh’ (enthusiasm) to take on the BJP,” party chief spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.
Akhilesh had tried his hand at coalition-building in Uttar Pradesh in the 2017 assembly elections as well, teaming up with Congress. His father and party’s founding leader Mulayam Singh Yadav had advised him against the move. He was ignored. The SP-Congress alliance failed miserably and BJP’s Yogi Adityanath replaced Akhilesh Yadav as Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
In 2019 Lok Sabha polls too, Mulayam had advised him against forming the BSP alliance for the Lok Sabha. The veteran leader’s advice was not heeded to again.
In 2017, Akhilesh had harped upon development agenda during his stint to attract voters. His ‘kaam bolta hai’ (work speaks for itself) campaign failed to resonate among UP voters.
In 2019, he decided to go back to the tried and tested caste-based calculations to win seats. He failed again.
Having suffered back-to-back electoral defeats, Akhilesh now faces a daunting task of not only regaining the people’s confidence in the party but also assuring them of its own identity in state and national politics, some party leaders said.