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Internal feud in Samajwadi Party - Is everything planned?
On 19th October, UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced his decision to embark alone on 'Samajwadi Vikas Rath Yatra' starting from 3rd November, also indirectly hinting that he will not be part of his party's silver jubilee celebrations beginning on the 5th of November.

This announcement is being viewed by experts as a family feud that has yet not been resolved and is rather leading to a grave situation. Can the Samajwadi Party afford such a crisis when the Assembly elections are knocking at the door? Has Mulayam Singh Yadav failed to control the inner party differences? Doesn't he understand that such lingering feud is counterproductive to his party's prospects? Since Mulayam Singh Yadav is a seasoned politician, how can he allow such a feud to continue?

Or is it that Mulayam Singh is intentionally allowing this feud to continue? Is this feud a pre-planned one? Is this some gambit by Mulayam Singh for some political experiment?

Mulayam Singh Yadav has such a high stature within his party that if he wants that the feud should end, none including Akhlesh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav or anyone else in the party has the guts to disobey him. That's why such a lingering feud has put all sane political analysts in a fix who are now wondering whether this is Mulayam Sungh's plan or really things in SP have gone beyond his control!

Now, let's take a look at the present situation of UP politics. Thanks to Rahul Gandhi's campaign, Congress is almost out of the contest. That means, SP has a good chance in a triangular contest (BJP and BSP being the other two) if it plays its cards smartly. By all calculations, if SP can manage around 29-30 per cent votes and get a clear forward margin of 3-4 per cent votes from its closest rival, it can retain power.

To understand this, let's look in to the vote percentages and number of seats won by the four major parties in 2007 and 2012 UP Assembly elections.

In 2007, SP, BSP, BJP and Congress achieved vote percentage of 26.07 per cent (97 seats), 30.43 per cent (206 seats), 19.6 per cent (51 seats) and 8.84 per cent (22 seats) respectively.

In 2012, SP, BSP, BJP and Congress achieved a vote percentage of 29.15 per cent (224 seats) , 25.91 per cent (80 seats), 15 per cent (47 seats) and 11.63 per cent (28 seats) respectively.

UP voters comprise of 40 per cent OBCs, 21.1 per cent SCs, 19.6 per cent Muslims and 22 per cent high-caste Hindus like Brahmins, Thakurs etc. Let's assume that SP gets 20 per cent of OBC votes (including 9 per cent of Yadavs), BSP gets 20 per cent of SC votes and BJP gets 20 per cent of forward caste votes, considering their vote bank strength. (This assumption is for a rough calculation).

As Congress is out of the contest, SP should expect that all Muslim votes will get transferred to it. But the Muslim community is angry with Mulayam's party due to Muzaffarnagar riots. The Muslims are equally annoyed with BSP for its past record of allying with the BJP. Even in the coming elections, if there is a hung Assembly, Mayawati would have no option other than going with the BJP. Thus, the Muslim community is expected to look most confused in these elections.

So, there could be division of Muslim votes between SP and BSP. In that case, both BSP and SP will end up with roughly 30 per cent votes. For BJP, Assembly elections are an altogether different ball game than the general elections where it had got 41 per cent votes. It can't get Muslim votes nor can it get SC votes. All its hopes remain with the balance 20 per cent OBC votes. Let's consider it takes away around 10 per cent OBC votes, it will also end up with around 30 per cent votes.

Past experience says that if a party is clearly ahead by 3-4 per cent votes, it can win the election with a majority. Thus, the remaining 10 per cent votes will be the bone of contention between the three major parties. In fact, it's just 3 per cent votes that will be closely contested as Congress and others are expected to get around 7 per cent votes.

Here lies the game plan of Mulayam Singh Yadav. He knows very well that at the moment, Akhilesh Yadav is the most popular CM of Uttar Pradesh. If he leads the Samajwadi Party, it will get a maximum 30 per cent votes, provided that all the assumptions are correct. However, there are a sizable number of people (2-3 per cent at least) who are angry with the Samajwadi Party but are ardent fans of Akhilesh Yadav. Thus, this apparent revolt by Akhilesh may earn him 2-3 per cent more votes which will get added to SP's kitty and could be decisive in the end.

Thus, I believe that Mulayam Singh Yadav has played a smart game and whatever is currently happening in his party now appears as 'planned'. Isn't it a brilliant strategy?

The only thing that could foil Mulayam's plan is that in case the majority Muslim community decides to support BSP. In that case, BSP would emerge as the winner. If the BJP can maintain its 2014 general elections vote percentage (41 per cent) then BJP could be a winner. Similarly, if Congress achieves some 15-20 per cent votes, there could be a hung Assembly.

The point here is that all think that SP will lose power in the upcoming elections. So what's wrong in having a strategy for turning the table upside down by innovative ideas? Hence, one should praise Mulayam's political intelligence and wait to see how things develop in the times to come.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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