Raj Babbar's victory cast's a shadow on Mulayam in Uttar Pradesh

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New Delhi, Nov. 13 (ANI): November 10, 2009 will be observed as a Black Day every year by the Samajwadi Party, as on this day it suffered perhaps the biggest ever jolt in its 17-year history.

Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav lost to one time partyman Raj Babbar by a huge margin of 85,343 votes, and to rub salt on the wound the party could not win even a single Assembly seat out of the 11 that went to by-polls on November 7.

Worst was the fact that Mulayam's party candidate lost in Etawah, which was once considered as his citadel dominated by Yadavs, who perhaps for the first time in past 20 years openly voted against his party. Mulayam never used to campaign in Etah, Etawa and Mainpuri and even his opponents believed that these were his strongholds.

Samajwadi Party's candidate could not even win the Bharthana Assembly seat, which was vacated by none other than Mulayam Singh after winning a Lok Sabha seat earlier this year.

When confabulations were on and feelers were being sent that Dimple would be fielded from Ferozabad, editorials in Hindi dailies had severely criticised the move, saying that once "Lohiawadi and Samajwadi" Mulayam had turned into "Parivarwadi". But senior Samajwadi Party leaders shunned the analysis saying that the journalists who write such editorials while sitting in closed corridors in Delhi are "miles away from ground realities".

Election results, particularly from Ferozabad Lok Sabha seat, have, in fact, sealed the lips of Mulayam's family members who (till the morning of November 10) were sure shot of the "bahu's" emphatic win.

The party fell short of words to explain the defeat. Mulayam Singh said: "Huge money power against us led to our defeat."

The analysts are debating the Amar Singh factor in Samajwadi Party, which they say has seen many a senior leaders leaving the party over the years. Examples quoted by them are namely Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav, Beni Prasad Verma, Azam Khan and Raj Babbar. The first three were among those who laid the foundation of the party.

Lately, intellectual circles are speculating about the next move of Amar Singh who may shift his party loyalties in order save himself from cases pending against him.

Prior to the elections the speculations were that the fielding of Dimple Yadav from Ferozabad was Amar Singh's decision, and it was "well-received" by Mulayam's son, Akhilesh Yadav, who wanted to assert his claim on Samajwadi Party's legacy. Many people said that Mulayam Singh Yadav was not in favour of fielding Dimple.

Result of the election assumes significance as it comes out soon after Akhilesh Yadav was installed as president of party's Uttar Pradesh unit. While campaigning during the by-poll from the constituency he had won from a few months ago, he was heard telling voters - "Earlier I asked you to vote for me, now I ask you to vote for my wife."

He appeared over-confident with the support of Lodh votes, which he thought were 'guaranteed' because of the recent "political-understanding" between Samajwadi Party and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh (a Lodh by caste). But, he absolutely failed to gauge the undercurrent, which led to his wife's defeat. Had he gone by his father's wish of not fielding Dimple, perhaps he would have saved from this embarrassment!

It said that unlike Mulayam Singh who was always on the move crisscrossing the state in public transport buses, on foot and boarding bullock-carts. On the contrary, his son Akhilesh Yadav is unapproachable, claiming to be "busy" reaching out to his voters and supporters through his blackberry.

Akhilesh is also surrounded by eulogisers who never lose a chance to remind him that he was the only Lok Sabha MP to win from two constituencies (earlier this year). On the other hand, those who worked with Mulayam Singh since his early days in politics, say that it was one of his best habits to listen to his critics' views and suggestions for hours together without uttering a word, and keeping those flattering him at a distance.

The recent election results are being seen as a referendum on Akhilesh's capabilities as he was installed as Uttar Pradesh unit chef only a few months back. They are also a warning to him to improve upon his political skills to match his father's dedication and sheer hard work. (ANI)

Pankaj Yadav is a political analyst.(ANI)

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