Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav defended his son and outgoing chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday after the party’s debacle in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, saying no one person is responsible for the defeat.
The SP and Congress coalition, stitched against Mulayam’s wishes, managed to win 54 constituencies against the BJP-led alliance’s runaway victory, capturing 325 seats in the 403-member assembly.
“We failed to convince voters,” said Mulayam, who was ousted by Akhilesh as party chief in January after a bitter power tussle in the family.
“Everyone is responsible for the loss. A single person cannot be blamed,” he said in Saifai, his native village, where he will celebrate Holi. Akhilesh too will join the celebration.
Before they left for Saifai separately, Mulayam met his son briefly at the Janeshwar Mishra Trust office in Lucknow. Mulayam joined in when Akhilesh was interacting with party office-bearers.
“People inclined towards the BJP as it has made a lot of promises. Let us see how many promises they fulfill,” the SP founder said.
Mulayam discussed the party’s rout and questioned the utility of the alliance with the Congress, which was related to single-digit figures in UP.
Akhilesh tried to encourage crestfallen party workers, saying the SP is not a party but an ideology, and that “our struggle will continue”.
“You all should reach out to people and re-strengthen the party. I will review the party’s performance and analyze the results. A meeting of all party candidates and MLAs will be held next week after which we will devise our new strategy,” he said.
The meeting with his legislators will be held at the party office on March 16.
But his uncle and senior SP leader, Shivpal Yadav, who won his Jaswant Nagar seat, is unlikely to attend. Akhilesh and Shivpal have been at loggerheads in the family feud, and he too has opposed the alliance with the Congress.
Shivpal has planned to celebrate his win in Jaswant Nagar, which he won by more than 50,000 votes without support from the party. He had campaigned like a first-timer.
(with PTI inputs)