SP to forge new caste equations in UP before 2019 LS polls
With the BSP’s popularity dipping in Uttar Pradesh after BJP’s thumping victory in the Assembly elections, the SP sees the gap as an opportunity to forge new caste equations and position itself as the only anti-BJP outfit in the state
Hardnews Bureau Delhi
The Samajwadi Party is set to focus on forging new caste equations to expand its base among Dalits and OBCs to ensure a victory rather than scouting for an alliance with the Congress or Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party will formally endorse this line in its state convention in Lucknow on September 23 and then at the national convention in Agra on October 5.
SP strategists see the decline of the BSP in UP politics as a ‘good omen’ and the party is confident that it can position itself as the sole anti-BJP outfit in the state and easily eat up the political space vacated by the BSP. “Alliance with the BSP at this stage would amount to ‘feeding the enemy.’ We have committed the mistake of aligning with the BSP once in 1993 to keep the BJP from coming to power in UP. We succeeded in our endeavour in 1993 mid-term poll held after the demolition of Babri mosque. But the alliance government so formed ended up creating a big rival for us and we paid a heavy price,” said an SP leader close to party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
“Mayawati made our task easier by imposing the condition of being part of a joint campaign only after non-BJP parties finalised seat-sharing formula for the polls ahead of the Patna rally organised by Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav. We cannot be held responsible for the failure of secular parties to unite under one umbrella,” said the SP leader. “We claim to be a national party. Our core area is Uttar Pradesh and it will remain so. The need of the hour is to craft a new social coalition and win back those sections of Dalits and OBCs which drifted towards the BJP due to our own follies in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll and later in 2017 Assembly poll,” said the SP leader.
Asked about the new narrative that the SP was attempting to formulate to counter the BJP, the SP leader said, “It’s an uphill task. It is not easy to fight the ‘jumlas’ of the BJP. So we will focus at village and block level to apprise people of unfulfilled promises made to farmers, poor sections of society and youth by the BJP in 2014 and later in 2017.” Another SP leader pointed out, “Old binaries like ‘Mandal vs Kamandal’ and ‘Secular vs Communal’ are no longer relevant political tools to fight the BJP. The Saffron party has smartly diffused these by crafting a mega narrative, simultaneously invoking nationalists, communal and class identities.”
Meanwhile, the SP is set to elect its national chief and discuss its strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in its convention in Agra on October 5. Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is set to be re-elected as the SP national chief. The convention is likely to see the passage of several political resolutions and the party will also explain its stand on its alliance with secular parties. SP national vice-president and Rajya Sabha MP Kiranmay Nanda said that the party’s constitution has been amended and now national convention will be held every five years. “The election of the president and national executive committee will take place once in five years. This will be the last convention before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and hence poll strategy will be discussed,” he added. SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said that while the national executive meeting will take place on October 4, the convention will be held onOctober 5.
With inputs from UNI