By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: The absence of Samajwadi Party President and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav at the oath-ceremony of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Bengaluru on Saturday has exposed sharp differences between Samajwadi Party and Congress. Despite being invited at the oath ceremony, Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav conveyed that he would not attend the function due to prior commitments.
At a time when several chief Ministers and other senior leaders attended the event to demonstrate opposition unity the absence of Akhilesh Yadav not only exhibited differences with Congress but adversely affected opposition unity efforts.
Samajwadi Party is the main opposition party in UP commanding tremendous influence on Muslim community which was demonstrated in 2022 assembly polls when Party gained in terms of vote percent as well as seats.
There is a realisation in Samajwadi Party that sharing space with Congress in UP would ultimately result in loss of Muslim votes. Earlier there was an understanding in Samajwadi and Congress that they never fielded candidates against family members of Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mulayam Singh Yadav family.
But recently during his visit to Amethi, Akhilesh Yadav hinted that his party would contest from there. It would be worth mentioning here that Rahul Gandhi was defeated by Mrs Smriti Irani in Amethi. He made it to Lok Sabha from Kerala.
Samajwadi Party experimented with Congress in 2017 assembly polls when both the parties entered into alliance with the slogan, “UP ko yeh Sath Pasand Hai”. During that election Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav addressed several joint meetings. But the alliance miserably failed and it could not help Akhilesh Yadav to come to power. So both the parties dissolved the alliance.
Samajwadi Party’s alliance partner RLD chief Jayant Choudhry showed political maturity when he attended oath ceremony of Siddaramaiah at Bengaluru. Earlier also during Bharat Jodo Yatra Jayant Choudhry had asked his party leaders to welcome Rahul Gandhi in Western UP. In some places RLD leaders and workers joined the yatra to show solidarity with Rahul Gandhi. Although invitation was sent to Akhilesh Yadav but he maintained distance from Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi.
At a time when political graph of BSP leader Mayawati is on the decline and party witnessed worst performance it could win only one seat in UP Assembly in 2022 Jayant Choudhry reached out to young dalit leader Chandra Shekhar Ravan having good influence in Western UP.
With tremendous response to Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi in Western UP, Jayant Choudhry has read between the lines that is why he is more willing for an alliance with Congress for next Lok Sabha polls. Jayant Choudhry is also aware of the fact that RLD-Samajwadi Party alliance cracked during recent UP civic polls when candidates of both the parties contested against each other in several places.
Now it is to be seen as to how Congress conducts itself in UP during next few months. The UP Congress workers are waiting to know whether Rahul Gandhi leads another Yatra in the state to revive the fortune of the party. The analysis of Karnataka assembly polls also demonstrated that the party was helped by Bharat Jodo Yatra of Rahul Gandhi. UP Congress is also waiting for revival plan from party high command including road shows and Yatra by Rahul Gandhi in future. (IPA Service)