NEW DELHI: After facing a crushing defeat in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections last year and in recently concluded civic polls, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has begun preparing to regain lost ground ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha election in 2019. The party has decided to focus entirely on the general elections and has started to chalk out their future course of action.
The Samajwadi Party, that tied up with Congress in last year's assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, in which both the parties were nearly wiped out, has reportedly decided to go alone in the next general election. The decision was taken keeping in view of the 'anger' that was seen in a section of the party against the decision to form a coalition with Congress. Another report stated that many in the party also believed that the coalition for further impacted the party's performance in the 2017 urban bodies elections.
The party's president and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav recently said that strengthening the party's organisation and its vote bank was his priority. "The 2019 elections are certainly crucial as the message from Uttar Pradesh will go out to the entire country," he said. "As of now, I am not thinking of an alliance with any party. It wastes a lot of time and I don't want to be in confusion over seats."
As per sources, Samajwadi Party is also planning to contest on both Amethi and Raebareli-bastions of Nehru-Gandhi family. Rae Bareli is Lok Sabha seat of Congress president Sonia Gandhi whereas party vice-president Rahul Gandhi represents Amethi in the lower house of parliament.
The move will be seen as a setback for the Congress, that had contested the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in alliance with the Samajwadi Party in 2017. Despite the pronouncement of the end of the unity, the Congress, as per sources, is still pinning its hopes on the SP president as it believes that coalitions mostly take place as elections draw closer. Maintaining that a future alliance is still not off the table, Congress believe that the Samajwadi Party chief's statement was essentially aimed at strengthening his own party organisation and keeping his flock together.
Samajwadi Party was reduced to 47 of the 403 assembly seats in the 2017 assembly elections won by BJP. In 2014, the party had suffered a similar defeat when it could only win 5 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh while the BJP-led NDA won 73 seats. The saffron party later consolidated its good show in the state by winning a majority of seats in the municipal elections in the state.