After the March 2012 victory, an SP MLA was found riding a horse on a railway platform in Deoria in eastern Uttar Pradesh the very next month. But that’s not all, sample these: SP youth wing leaders thrashed and stripped a Congress worker in Gonda.
Last month, minister and Jaunpur Lok Sabha candidate Parasnath Yadav’s son and supporters attacked and displaced SP candidate KP Yadav for not supporting Parasnath.
The party expelled KP Yadav, but he now plans to contest against Parasnath.
Sitapur MLA Radheyshyam Jaiswal’s son was booked for opening fire and injuring one person while trying to allegedly grab land.
Three sons of a Rae Bareli MLA allegedly bulldozed the house of an additional chief medical officer because the officer refused to give in to their extortion bid.
These and scores of other such incidents mark the less-than-two-year-old second phase of the Yadav rule in Uttar Pradesh — a clear letdown, especially after a fresh and unblemished Akhilesh Yadav rode to power on a ‘cycle of hope’ in the spring of 2012.
And the trio, Mulayam Singh Yadav, his brother Ramgopal and son Akhilesh – though they have expressed wanly their dissatisfaction several times – failed so far to stop the cadres.
Even party patriarch Mulayam Singh had to admit in public: “The Bharatiya Janata Party workers don’t engage in hooliganism. That’s the reason why they won the recent assembly elections (in most of the five states).”
The reason: The leaders themselves haven’t set too many personal examples for their followers, nor have they refrained from botching up situations with strange steps against IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal for ordering the demolition of a wall surrounding a mosque in a village or with absolute lack of firm action during the Muzaffarnagar communal clashes.
The result: It’s become an almost free-for-all (read: SP supporters) in the state and the government’s positive steps so far have gone unnoticed.
But can the SP afford to lose control over its men in an election year, especially when its chief is ‘in the reckoning’ for the country’s top job? The answer is quite obvious. “The Lok Sabha election is a matter of my honour. No undisciplined force ever wins,” said Mulayam.
In fact, the previous SP government’s poor performance on the law and order front practically helped Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party come to power with a majority in 2007.
But five years later, when the SP returned – with Akhilesh as its face — its workers lost no time in showing that the shape of things were not going to change.
SP national general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who is fighting a seemingly losing battle against political hara-kiri, said recently at Saifai: “Hooliganism may deprive the party a chance to return to power and lead to a serious setback in the Lok Sabha elections.”
Clearly worried, top SP leaders are using every public function to warn cadres against unruly behaviour. But all the guidelines and codes of conduct issued by Akhilesh as UP state president of the party have so far fallen on deaf ears.
Worse, even ministers didn’t stop making smart-alec statements, such as plans to build roads as smooth as Hema Malini’s cheeks – a la Lalu Prasad — or ‘people die of cold even in palaces’ when children were dying of cold in Muzaffarnagar riot relief camps.