The Samajwadi Party’s (SP’s) rift came to a full circle on Thursday with its current party president, Akhilesh Yadav, being elected as the SP
chief for the next five years, following a party vote at its 10th National
Convention in Agra.
Akhilesh’s appointment is likely to give him unbridled authority to lead and shape SP’s political strategy in the coming years that will see two major electoral battles being played out. On the national
front, there is the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and on the domestic turf of Uttar Pradesh, the next state assembly polls are scheduled to take place on 2022.
Given such high stakes, SP’s leadership under Akhilesh also marks the end of its founder-cum-patron Mulayam Singh Yadav’s era as the party chief. Mulayam had founded the party back in November 1992 and the SP
has managed three electoral victories under his leadership as the CM of Uttar Pradesh.
As the party shift gears in terms of leadership, its new leader Akhilesh is likely to don a new aggressive avatar and seek greater visibility in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The young SP
leader has, in fact, been very vocal in his criticism of the BJP
government over the past few days, thereby, marking the dawn of a new-found political persona.
Akhilesh had criticised the Narendra Modi
government over its demonetisation
move and the difficulties posed to trader, dealers and citizens in the wake of the goods and services tax (GST) roll-out. The SP
leader had also raised a red flag regarding the issue of job losses under the Modi government.
He also gave a clarion call to the party cadres and leaders for countering the alleged falsehood perpetuated by the party’s arch rival- BJP.
Akhilesh’s name was proposed by the party’s general secretary-- Ram Gopal Yadav. The proposal was welcomed and unanimously supported by al 15,000 delegates attending the convention at the Taj City in Agra.
During the course of the day, speculations were rife over Mulayam attending the Agra
summit. These were, however, put to rest as he failed to turn up despite reports of him arriving at the Lucknow airport had earlier made rounds. It was said then the Mulayam was supposed to head to Agra
Akhilesh, however, told party members that his father (Mulayam) had congratulated him over telephone.
Previously, both Mulayam and his younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav were not invited to the party’s 8th state party convention in Lucknow on September 23.
Akhilesh was anointed as the party president after an emergency meeting was held on January 1 2017. The party’s erstwhile chief Mulayam was removed from his post, thereby, enabling Akhilesh to take charge of SP
after a political feud involving the Yadavs lead to rift within the party.
On Wednesday, the SP’s national
executive meet was also held in Agra, where Akhilesh had announced that he would continue the party’s alliance with Congress
in the state.
is looking forward to making a comeback after its humiliating defeat in two consecutive elections- the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the 2017 UP elections.
In run up to the 2012 UP polls, Akhilesh had been at the forefront of the party and launched state-wide bicycle rallies to appeal to the youth voters in the region. His efforts had born fruit back then and the SP
had dislodged the Mayawati government to come to power in Uttar Pradesh.
However, both SP
and Akhilesh seemed to have lost their lucky talisman in successive polls, although the party tried to align with Congress
in the 2017 UP polls in a bid to stop the ‘BJP
and Modi juggernaut’.
Meanwhile, the party adopted its political and economic resolution at the convention, which highlighted the issues of unemployment and economic slowdown in the aftermath of GST