As the Samajwadi Party (SP) leaders introspect the reasons for the party’s drubbing in the polls, the cadres pointed their finger at the family feud among the party leaders as the main reason. They also said that change of the party president and giving tickets to wrong candidates were decisive factors.
SP fielded Sunil Chaudhary from Noida and Narender Nagar from Jewar. Chaudhary received 58,401 votes and lost by a margin of over one lakh votes to BJP’s Pankaj Singh, who got 1,62,417 votes.
Nagar came third in Jewar after bagging 13,239 votes while BJP’s Dhirendra Singh got 1,02,979 votes, followed by BSP’s Vedram Bhati, who secured 80,806 votes. In Dadri, SP supported Samir Bhati, a candidate from its alliance partner Congress.
SP spokesperson for Gautam Budh Nagar Raghvendra Dubey said the family feud cost the party dear. “The family feud brought fissures in the party to the fore and it sent a negative message to voters. The infighting also caused a delay in ticket distribution and left us with little time to campaign. The party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and senior leader Shivpal Yadav did not campaign for the candidates,” he said.
No senior party leader, except its Rajya Sabha MP, Surendra Nagar, visited Gautam Budh Nagar to campaign for its party candidates. Akhilesh Yadav also did not visit Gautam Budh Nagar due to the ‘jinx’ — that a chief minister loses the elections after visiting Noida — associated with the district.
Dubey said the last-minute change in the candidates also affected the results. “Ashok Chauhan was declared the party’s candidate from Noida in 2016. He worked for a year in his constituency. However, he was denied a ticket and Sunil Chaudhary was fielded instead. Chaudhary hardly got 20 days to campaign,” he said.
Dubey said that even the clean image of Akhilesh Yadav and the development done during his tenure as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh did not make up for the damage caused by the family feud.
Echoing similar views, SP’s Noida president, Rakesh Yadav, said that the party fought among themselves instead of competing with their rivals. “The biggest reason for our poor show is infighting. Veterans were dethroned and this did not augur well with voters or the party workers. Tickets of winning candidates were cancelled and new persons were fielded. You cannot expect a person, who is projected as the party candidate and then denied a ticket, and their supporters to work wholeheartedly,” he said.