For SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, Lok Sabha Results Pose Stiff Challenge from Outside and Within
Three candidates from Mulayam Singh Yadav’s immediate family have lost this election. All the three seats were retained by the SP 2014 despite going solo.
File photo of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
Of the three gathbandhan allies in Uttar Pradesh, Ajit Singh of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) faces an existential crisis.
Mayawati has been the biggest gainer, with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) increasing its tally from zero to 10.
For Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav, the outcome of the elections poses a stiff challenge from both within and outside.
Three clear patterns emerge out of the voting in the most populous state in the country.
First, the SP-BSP-RLD combine has won in seats where the Jatav-Muslim-Yadav together constitutes more than 45% of the electorate.
The BSP seems to be the biggest beneficiary of this mobilisation in west UP and Poorvanchal.
The party won from Bijnor, Nagina, Amroha and even Saharanpur where gathbandhan candidate Haji Fazl-ur-Rehman relegated Imran Masood of the Congress to third position in the triangular contest.
The SP gained two seats in the same region with ST Hasan winning from Moradabad and Azam Khan defeating Jaya Prada from Rampur.
That gathbandhan could not muster any other caste votes outside its catchment area of 42% percent is evident from Meerut and Muzaffarnagar.
In Meerut, the BSP candidate lost by less than 5,000 votes despite Jatavs and Muslims constituting more than 42% of the electorate.
In Muzaffarnagar, RLD’s Ajit Singh lost by a narrow margin to the BJP. He got 48% of the votes polled in a seat where again Muslims and Jatavs are more than 42%. This indicates a near total consolidation of other castes, including Jats, towards the BJP.
The biggest setback in the alliance has been suffered by the Samajwadi Party. Three candidates from Mulayam Singh Yadav’s immediate family have lost this election. All three seats were retained by the SP 2014 despite going solo.
And, all the three seats have substantial Yadav electorate.
From Kannauj, Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple lost to Subrat Pathak by less than 15,000 votes.
Cousins Dharmendra and Akshay similarly came second in a closely contested battle in Badayun and Firozabad.
Of these, Badaun and Firozabad were won by very comfortable margins by the SP in 2014.
Similarly in Etah, another seat with substantial Yadav population, the BJP seems to have comfortably defeated the SP.
The SP’s defeat in these constituencies could either be due to a consolidation of non-gathbandhan votes for the BJP or non-transfer of BSP votes to the SP candidate.
Badayun here would be an interesting case study where the BJP fielded minister Swamy Prasad Maurya’s daughter Sanghamitra to mobilise non-Yadav OBCs and upper castes.
Maurya, once a close confidante of BSP chief Mayawati, joined the BJP ahead of the 2017 state election.
Mayawati and Akhilesh had held joint rallies in Badaun and Kannauj to seek votes for Dharmendra and Dimple Yadav.
In Firozabad, Akhilesh’s estranged uncle Shivpal seems to have chipped away with 90,000 votes to gift the BJP this seat against his nephew Akshay.
Similarly in Faizabad, Anantsen Yadav lost to Lalu Singh of the BJP despite Mayawati providing a cushion of more than a lakh of dalit vote-base to the SP.
Hence, apart from the father-son duo of Mulayam and Akhilesh, the only other Yadav candidate to have won the election is from Jaunpur, that too, on a BSP ticket.
Without Mayawati, the SP could manage to win five seats in 2014. With Mayawati, the party’s tally remains the same with three from the immediate family losing election in Yadav strongholds. Akhilesh’s last two experiments in alliance politics have failed.
It is the biggest challenge for the Samajwadi Party since its formation in 1992. The challenge in the days to come will come from both outside and within.
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