The Samajwadi Party (SP) in Maharashtra has sided with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, saying that the party can bounce back to power only under his leadership.
State SP chief Abu Azmi has blamed party leader Amar Singh for the chaos, saying he has a dubious record of creating discord among people.
Azmi said the entire state unit stands behind Akhilesh. “Akhilesh has done lot of developmental work which has never been done in the history of Uttar Pradesh. Only he can ensure victory for us in the coming assembly elections,” he said.
“People like Amar Singh should concentrate on Rajya Sabha instead of meddling in Uttar Pradesh and creating discord,” he added.
He also appealed to party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav to rein in his brother Shivpal Yadav. “Akhilesh has undertaken a lot of developmental work and Shivpal needs to concentrate on party work only,” said Azmi.
Azmi said it was time for Mulayam to convince his brother Shivpal, who heads the UP unit, to concentrate on strengthening the party instead of picking fights with Akhilesh. “We understand Mulayam Singh’s love for his brother but the party will suffer if this is not stopped,” said Azmi.
Azmi has been the face of the SP in the state since 1995 when he was elected the state president. The SP in Mumbai has its presence in the Muslim pockets.
Azmi is the only MLA from the party in the assembly and has been elected from the Mankhurd-Shivajinagar constituency for the last two terms.
Well-known veteran leaders such as Nawab Malik, Hussain Dalvai and Bashir Patel deserted the party, accusing Azmi of running the party like a personal fiefdom. The SP, which has half a dozen corporators in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the last few years, has been able to extract its pound of flesh by indirectly supporting the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance.
However, the recent rise of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has been a headache for the party as it significantly dented the SP’s Muslim vote bank. While SP got only one legislator elected in 2014 assembly elections, the AIMIM got two legislators elected in its debut.