Rise and fall of Samajwadi Party in Lok Sabha
New Delhi, Feb 25: The Samajwadi Party (SP) is one of the important political parties in Uttar Pradesh. It has joined hands with its historical political rival, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from repeating its 2014 score of 71 seats. Uttar Pradesh sends 80 members to the Lower House of the Parliament.
The party has also been in news for giving tickets to film stars and mafia dons. The SP is an offshoot of the erstwhile Janata Dal and was founded by Mulayam Singh Yadav on October 4, 1992.
Now, he has been sidelined by his son Akhilesh Yadav and made patron after a long family feud.
It was Mulayam only who had made Akhilesh Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in 2012 when everyone was expecting that he would again become chief minister.
In its debut Lok Sabha election in 1996, the party tasted success and won 16 seats in Uttar Pradesh and one in Bihar.
In Bihar, the party won the Purnea Lok Sabha seat. In Uttar Pradesh, the SP won Amroha, Moradabad, Badaun, Aonla, Sitapur, Bara Banki, Kaiserganj, Domariaganj, Bansgaon, Salempur, Azamgarh, Mirzapur Phulan Devi, Phulpur, Etawah, Mainpuri Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Kairana Lok Sabha seats.
One of the highlights of the election was the win of Bandit Queen Phoolan Devi as the SP candidate from Mirzapur seat.
She had surrendered in 1983 and was charged with 48 crimes, including multiple murders, plunder, arson and kidnapping for ransom. After she spent 11 years in jail, Uttar Pradesh government headed by Mulayam withdrew cases against her in 1994 and she was released from jail.
Mulayam bagged Mainpuri seat and became Union Defence Minister in the United Front coalition government, which fell in 1998 as India went in for fresh elections.
In the 1998 mid-term Lok Sabha elections, he returned to the Lok Sabha from Sambhal parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh, where the party also won 19 other seats: Bijnor, Moradabad, Budaun, Kheri, Hardoi, Mohanlalganj, Faizabad, Kaiserganj, Balrampur, Gonda, Deoria, Lalganj, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Phulpur, Chail, Kannauj, Mainpuri, and Jalesar.
The party performed very well in the 1999 mid-term Lok sabha elections as it won 26 seats in Uttar Pradesh: Sambhal, Budaun, Aonla, Kheri, Misrikh, Mohanlalganj, Unnao, Bara Banki, Kaiserganj, Balrampur, Khalilabad, Maharajganj, Azamgarh, Machhlishahr, Saidpur, Chandauli, Mirzapur Phoolan Devi, Phulpur, Etawah, Kannauj, Farrukhabad, Mainpuri, Jalesar, Etah, Firozabad, Agra Raj Babbar.
Mulayam had contested from Sambhal and Kannauj and won from both the seats. He resigned from Kannauj seat, and his son Akhilesh won the bypoll in 2000.
Akhilesh did not have any political experience as he had returned to India after completing his study in an Australian university in computer science.
Phoolan Devi again returned to the Lok Sabha from Mirzapur seat. The party had also fielded noted film actor Raj Babbar from Agra seat that he won.
In 2004 elections, the party won Hardwar seat in Uttaranchal and 35 seats in Uttar Pradesh, which were: Moradabad, Rampur, Sambhal, Budaun, Kheri, Hardoi, Mohanlalganj, Pratapgarh, Kaiserganj, Bahraich, Gonda, Deoria, Salempur, Ghosi, Lalganj, Jaunpur, Saidpur, Ghazipur, Phulpur, Allahabad, Chail, Banda, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Ghatampur, Etawah, Kannauj, Farrukhabad, Mainpuri, Jalesar, Etah, Firozabad, Agra, Muzaffarnagar, and Saharanpur.
Mulayam had returned to the Lok Sabha from Mainpuri while being the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in a hope to play a major role at the Centre but the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance had the requisite numbers, so he resigned from the Lok Sabha. His nephew Dharmendra Yadav won the bypoll.
His son Akhilesh and Raj Babbar retained Kannauj and Agra Lok Sabha seats respectively.
While Rampur seat was bagged by another film actor Jaya Prada, Ghazipur and Phulpur seats were won by two mafia dons, Afjal Ansari and Atique Ahmad respectively.
In 2009 General Elections, the SP could win 23 seats, 13 less than 2004.
The seats were: Nagina, Rampur, Bulandshahr, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Budaun, Shahjahanpur, Hardoi, Mohanlalganj, Etawah, Kannauj, Jalaun, Banda, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Allahabad, Kaiserganj, Ballia, Machhlishahr, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Mirzapur, and Robertsganj.
Since the BSP supremo Mayawati had become Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister on May 13, 2007; so Mulayam contested election from Mainpuri and won. His son Akhilesh again returned to the Lok Sabha from Kannuj seat and actor Jaya Prada from Rampur.
Akhilesh resigned from the Lok Sabha when he became Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister in 2012 and his wife Dimple Yadav won the Kannauj by-election.
In 2014, the party recorded its worst ever performance in the Lok Sabha and only five family members of Mulayam won the election, thanks to the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi wave.
Mulayam had contested from two seats; Mainpuri and Azamgarh and won both the seats. He resigned from Mainpuri seat and his grandnephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav was elected in the bypoll. His daughter-in-law Dimple Yadav retained Kannauj seat, nephews Akshay Yadav and Dharmendra Pratap Yadav bagged Firozabad and Budaun Lok Sabha seats respectively.
However, the party added two more seats in its kitty when it won Gorakhpur and Phulpur by-elections in 2018, which were necessitated due to the resignations of Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath and Phulpur MP Keshav Prasad Maurya after they became Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively.
The SP could win, particularly in the BJP bastion Gorakhpur, because of the united Opposition. And, the success of that by-election is the basis of current SP-BSP alliance.
Now, the captain of the party is Akhilesh and he is already under pressure after losing the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections very badly in 2017 when he had joined hands with the Congress.
Results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will decide the political future of Akhilesh as well as of Mayawati, whose party could not win even a single seat in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.