The Samajwadi Party (SP) will kick off its poll campaign at its 25th year celebrations on Saturday with the focus mainly on cobbling together an alliance of ‘secular’ parties to check the BJP in next year’s assembly polls.
Leaders of several parties including the Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Janata Dal and Rashtriya Lok Dal are expected to attend the celebrations though Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will skip the meet.
After weeks a bitter family feud, there are visible signs of rapprochement among the SP leadership including chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle and state president Shivpal.
Though other parties are yet to commit on any alliance, party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal are said to be keen on keeping secular votes together to stave off the BJP’s attempt to capture power in the politically crucial state
“It is too early to say that the alliance is happening. It certainly is not happening on Saturday in Lucknow. Possibilities are being explored and an alliance would happen depending on how much flexibility Mulayam Singhji, who is the senior most socialist leader, shows,” JD-U leader KC Tyagi told HT over the phone.
“It is up to the Samajwadi Party as to whom they want to project as its CM candidate. Of course, we want the SP to stay united and sort out its internal conflicts for it is necessary to fight the BJP,” Tyagi added.
Founded in 1992 at the Begum Hazrat Mahal Park in Lucknow, the SP is pinning its hopes on a grand alliance – mahagathbandhan – on the lines of a similar grouping that managed to defeat the BJP in Bihar last year.
The proposed alliance attempts to bring together members of the erstwhile Janata Parivar, floated in 2015 to check the BJP after it swept the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The alliance collapsed ahead of the Bihar assembly poll when the SP walked out of the grouping due to differences over seat-sharing. Nitish Kumar managed to bring the RJD and Congress together to form the winning alliance.