In the first ever one-to-one meeting with all the declared candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Mulayam Singh Yadav on Sunday counselled each of them to script victory by capitalising on the positives and overcoming negative factors.
The SP has declared 77 candidates out of the 80 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh.
The crucial meeting came a day after Mulayam had called the 2014 elections “a matter of my honour”.
It also came amid severe criticism of the ruling party over conducting the Saifai Mahotsav, which included performance by Bollywood stars, at a time when children affected by the Muzaffarnagar riots were dying of cold in camps barely 300 km from Saifai.
At the meeting, Mulayam asked the candidates to scale up campaigning, with the atmosphere building up for the elections.
This was not the first time that the Mulayam-led panel met the candidates, but earlier the panel talked to all candidates en masse.
Candidates, one after the other, marched in to face the poll preparation review panel headed by Mulayam for discussions.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, national general secretaries Ramgopal Yadav and Kironmoy Nanda and PWD minister Shivpal Yadav are on the panel.
Many candidates later said Mulayam had reports and feedback from each constituency in front of him when he spoke to them.
An SP leader privy to the internal workings said Mulayam cross-questioned many on issues they were either hiding or trying to avoid.
“Netaji asked me if the organisation and cadre in my constituency is supportive and active enough? He asked me to increase support and vote base of the party in my constituency,” said Jhansi candidate Chandrapal Singh Yadav, who is the sitting MP. He spent “over 15 minutes” with the panel.
Allahabad candidate and sitting MP Reoti Raman Singh said, “We are upbeat.”
Kaushambi candidate Shailendra Kumar said the party supremo did not give any new guidelines. “Guidelines were issued long back, we have been asked to stick to it.”
Raju Srivastava, the famous stand-up comedian who is the SP’s Kanpur candidate, hoped the party would improve its showing. "There is always a scope for improvement.”
Srivastava is likely to face Congress stalwart Sriprakash Jaiswal in Allahabad.