By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav has started preparations for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. During his first interaction with media in the New Year, Akhilesh announced that he would make SP a national party. Although Akhilesh is national president of the party, it has virtually no presence in other states. During the recent Gujarat assembly polls Akhilesh Yadav put up five candidates but none of them could make any mark.
Akhilesh has announced that he would undertake a Rath Yatra all over the country to establish the presence of his party. Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav had taken out a Kranti Rath Yatra in UP, which helped him to come power. Akhilesh’s tour of other states is expected to help in expanding his party’s presence.
Mulayam Singh Yadav had been saying publicly that Akhilesh should have toured the other states in the last five years when he was chief minister, which would have helped in reaching out to likeminded people and bringing them to party fold.
Akhilesh is also making attempts to reach out to opposition parties to arrive at a consensus on important issues to launch an agitation against the Yogi government and BJP on issues concerning common man. Much significance is being attached to the recent meeting of opposition parties convened by him. Representatives of NCP, CPI, CPM, Peace party, JD(U), Aam Aadmi Party, RLD, Nishad Party and expelled leader from BSP Nasimudddin Siddiqui attended the meeting. But significantly, Congress and BSP kept away, although Congress leaders are said to have assured that they would attend the next meeting.
Akhilesh’s main purpose in convening the meeting was to mobilize public opinion against EVM machines as a majority of opposition had lost faith in the polls conducted by the machines. Akhilesh said at the meeting that his party was interested in maintaining the sanctity of democracy through free and fair polls, which was not possible through EVM machines. He wanted elections be held through ballot papers.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Choudhry said that but for CPM all the political parties participating in the meeting were also against the use of EVM and they wanted elections be conducted through ballot papers. Samajwadi Party also held a meeting of senior party leaders, which reviewed the preparations for Lok Sabha polls.
Akhilesh has asked for a survey of all the Lok Sabha constituencies, especially those assembly segments left for the Congress party in last assembly polls as part of the electoral alliance. He has hinted that his party would make preparations to contest in all the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in UP.
As of now, Akhilesh seems to be thinking of going it alone in the Lok Sabha polls as there is a realization that the party lost many seats due to the alliance with Congress. The Samajwadi Party suffered its worst ever performance in the 2017 assembly elections, when the party got only 46 seats against 224 it had won in the 2012 elections. Mulayam Singh Yadav and his younger brother Shivpal Yadav were against any alliance with the Congress, Akhilesh ignored their advice and joined hands with Rahul Gandhi, leaving more than 100 seats for he Congress, which was, however, reduced to only seven seats. (IPA Service)