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SP registers third poor poll showing under Akhilesh

SP registers third poor poll showing under Akhilesh

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Nothing seems to work for Samajwadi Party (SP) national president Akhilesh Yadav. His comeback strategies have failed to deliver results, and the party’s performance has been on a steady downhill path from election to election.
Yadav, now 45, son of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, seemed to be just what the SP needed when in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections in 2012, he converted a rickety old vehicle of his father’s into what he called the Kranti Rath and toured the entire state.
Crediting him for the victory, his father, the then party president, stepped down and appointed Yadav as the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
It was to be his last electoral success. Akhilesh Yadav was chief minister when the SP went into the 2014 parliamentary polls under his leadership. Mulayam Singh was the national party chief, but Yadav was the de facto leader of the SP’s 2014 campaign. By the time the elections ended, SP was down to five Lok Sabha seats, from 23 in 2009, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) snapped up 71 of the 80 seats filled by UP in Parliament’s lower house.
“The party is puzzled. Akhilesh ji is a good leader, well-intentioned and well-meaning politician, yet things are not working his way,” an SP leader said on condition of anonymity.
Soon after the 2014 results, the famous Yadav family feud broke out, with uncle Shivpal Yadav challenging Yadav’s control in SP. Yadav won, and was appointed national president of the party, replacing Mulayam Singh, in January 2017. The UP assembly elections that the party contested under Yadav’s absolute leadership just three months afterwards, came as a jolt to the SP, which won barely 47 seats in the 403-member legislature, down from 224 in 2012. BJP cleaned up 312 seats.
The vote share of the SP fell to 22% in the assembly polls in 2017, from 29.15% in 2012. Similarly, the vote share of the party in LS polls has also seen a decline. In the 2009, SP’s vote share was 23.26%. In 2014, the vote share fell to 19.77%, and in 2019, it has slid further to 17.96%.
In 2014, Yadav had ruled out any kind of pre-poll alliance, projecting his father as a potential candidate for the post of prime minister. But in 2017, he struck an alliance with the Congress in an attempt to consolidate backward classes.


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