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Post Meltdown

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The Samajwadi Party, of late, has consistently failed to deliver at the hustings. This is despite the fact that it has had pre-poll alliances with all the parties except the BJP. The reason is simple – its vote is non-transferable. While supporters of the BSP, Congress and others have voted for SP candidates, this has not been reciprocated, particularly by the Yadavs. And, now, even the Muslims, who were the other half of the MY coalition that served as the backbone of the SP, are greatly disillusioned.

These developments are the result of party Chief Akhilesh Yadav’s arrogant approach towards all and sundry, including his own uncles and close associates. He has failed to build upon the legacy of his father, Mulayam Singh. In fact, questions are being asked how much worse the situation will become when Mulayam is no longer around. The latest to express dissatisfaction with Akhilesh’s management of the party is Om Prakash Rajbhar, leader of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, who has announced an end to the one significant alliance that the SP enjoyed. The SBSP too did not benefit in the last election because of the non-transfer of Yadav votes. It is also becoming increasingly clear in Indian politics that inheritors’ clout does not overcome lack of basic political acumen, particularly in the present competitive environment.

This represents an excellent opportunity for other opposition parties like the BSP and Congress. If the Muslims also shift to the BSP, as Rajbhar has promised to do, and the much depleted Congress agrees to be a junior partner, something of an effective coalition could come up against the BJP. Even the Jat based outfits of Western UP, which have also experienced betrayal by SP voters, could weigh in. It could have an interesting impact on the coming Lok Sabha contest. The ruling BJP may pre-empt this by luring Rajbhar away, but that remains to be seen. For the time being, the potential for new alignments remains.