New Delhi: Faced with internal bickerings and an open challenge by one of its senior leaders, the Samajwadi Party (SP), which rescued the Manmohan Singh government after the Left withdrew support on the nuclear deal issue, has emerged a lesser player in Parliament this time around.
69 year old SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who once ran the affairs of Uttar Pradesh, and whose party was the fourth largest in the outgoing Lok Sabha, suffered in the elections apparently due to a myriad of factors including a revolt by party leader Azam Khan after the tie-up with former BJP leader Kalyan Singh.
The party is now slated to win around a score of seats. It had at one stage in the 14th Lok Sabha a tally of 39.
Heading the government in Uttar Pradesh, the SP had managed to poll 26.74% votes in 2004, surprising its political opponents though its good harvest at the hustings had proved to be of little value at the Centre. During the major portion of UPA’s term, the party had failed to break ice with the Congress.
But in July last year, the SP extended support to the UPA during the no-trust vote on the nuclear deal issue but did not join the government, remaining an outside supporter.
This time the SP’s proximity with Kalyan Singh came in for criticism not only from Azam Khan, the co-founder of the party in 1992, but other Muslim leaders too. They accused Yadav of tying up with the former UP chief minister during whose rule the Babri Masjid was demolished. Politicians like Raj Babbar, Salim Shervani and Shafiqur Rehman Burq had campaigned against the SP.