Sure enough, the two UP satraps would need to initiate steps to put their respective houses in order and to rejuvenate their badly disillusioned party ranks following the humiliating drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections. However, whether the two regional titans would care to introspect about their own failings remains a million dollar question. Sharat Pradhan reports.
Even after suffering a devastating blow in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, both Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party -- the former bosses of Uttar Pradesh politics -- were continuing to remain in denial mode to accept their own failings.
Far from allowing the reasons of their defeat to sink in, top leadership of both these parties were busy looking for scapegoats on whom they could put the entire blame for the debacle.
Neither SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav nor his chief minister son Akhilesh Yadav seemed to be in any mood to take objective action on the issue.
Akhilesh’s decision to sack 32 such partymen from the defacto ministerial positions appeared to be a very cosmetic step without any far-reaching meaning.
In all, the state government handpicked 62 persons who were made chairpersons of some undertaking or institution with status and perquisites of a minister of state. Barring half a dozen of these, most of the rest were of extremely little political consequence and therefore had no role to play in SP’s electoral politics or campaign.
Largely known for their sycophancy, they had got these positions as a reward for praise they could shower on the father and son.
Even as 32 were shown the door in an abrupt turn of events on Tuesday, 30 of them were still retained on superfluous positions especially tailor-made for them.
Other than a handful of ‘advisers’ (in the minister’s rank), most of them were simply there to enjoy the perks and privileges without having to perform any formal duty.
“Bulk of these so-called ministers have nothing to do other than enjoying the comforts of a red-beacon fitted official vehicle, a plush office with staff and a lavish residence”, alleged a senior bureaucrat who was punished because he refused to extend certain undue privileges demanded by one of the 62 defacto ministers.
Known to have publicly expressed his displeasure with the functioning of his son’s two-year old government, Mulayam Singh Yadav once again expressed his chagrin with the Lok Sabha election results on Monday when he remarked, “When I was chief minister, we won 36 Lok Sabha seats and we added three more in the bye-elections that followed.” And, while gesturing towards his son, he went on to add, “today he has given us just five seats.”
A visibly worked up Akhilesh got up and left the meeting in a huff, causing much embarrassment to the father.
BSP supremo Mayawati’s reaction to the defeat was no better. Even as she looked visibly crestfallen, she tried putting up a brave face. And with an obvious view to keeping her ranks in good humour, she took recourse to statistics to convey that her base vote of dalits was still intact.
“Our party got 19.5 per cent of the votes polled, which is barely 2 per cent less than what we polled in the last Lok Sabha election; that makes it clearly evident that the BSP has not lost one bit of its dalit vote”, she declared.
And went on to add, “However, the upper castes, a section of Muslims and certain OBCs deserted us; therefore we suffered the loss.”
In an action that appeared more meaningful than the sacking of the irrelevant 32 defacto ministers by the SP government, Mayawati dissolved all party-level committees constituted for the conduct of the election campaign.
Like Mulayam and son Akhilesh, the BSP chief also refused to share any responsibility for the poll debacle. While Mulayam and Akhilesh were busy spinning across the sprawling state right from the month of March, Mayawati took to campaigning as late as on April 2 when she held her first election rally.
Thereafter too, she rarely addressed more than two rallies in a day -- in sharp contrast to Bharatiya Janata Party’s star campaigner, and now Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi, who was known to be doing 4-5 rallies in a day.
Most political observers felt that Mayawati’s campaign was rather half-hearted. But no one could understand why she was on a go-slow this time.
The common guess was that her focus was more towards strengthening her party ranks for the 2017 state assembly election, but there was no denying that that she was worried about retaining the 19 Lok Sabha seats her party had won in 2009.
While a drastic fall in her party’s tally was clearly written on the wall, none had imagined that her party would be decimated in the Lok Sabha this time.
She proposes to hold yet another meeting of her party leaders in Lucknow on Wednesday, when more closed door confabulations were also expected between Mulayam, Akhilesh and the rest of the Yadav clan, who alone hold fort in the five seats that the party could manage to clinch this time.
Sure enough, the two regional satraps would need to initiate steps to put their respective houses in order and to rejuvenate their badly disillusioned party ranks. However, whether the two regional titans would care to introspect about their own failings remains a million dollar question.
Image: Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati