The social profile and political background of the functionaries of newly floated Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) (Lohia) by Shivpal Yadav suggest an attempt at breach in the Samajwadi Party’s share of SP-BSP ring-fence being worked out by the opposition against the BJP in politically crucial UP ahead of 2019 elections.
Shivpal is going to show strength of his new outfit on Sunday (December 9) by holding it’s first rally–Jan Aakrosh Rally–at Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow where party leaders are expecting a gathering Of more than two lakh people.
The list of office bearers of Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM), which has got renamed as Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) (Lohia) as the latest political outfit floated by rebel Samajwadi party (SP) leader Shivpal Singh Yadav, is full with names of leaders and workers who had been working with SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav since inception of the party and held key posts in the SP organization.
A careful scrutiny of the social profiles of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) (Lohia) office bearers reveals that majority of positions have been given to Yadav and Muslims who have been core vote base of SP. In fact, 46 (29 Muslims and 17 Yadavs) of 63 districts and Mahanagar presidents announced by Shivpal come from these two communities which form the core support base of SP. Also, among 14 regional in-charge declared so far, Shivpal has declared include 3 Yadav and 2 muslims.
New party may eat into SP votes, dent SP-BSP strength
REBEL SP MLA Shivpal Singh Yadav maintains that his newly-formed Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (PSP) (Lohia) in UP will fight against the policies of BJP, but other parties, including BJP, see Yadav’s new party as a strategy to dent the strength of the SP and BSP which are likely to continue their alliance in the Lok Sabha polls after recording success in three bypolls. Shivpal claims to have a strong network among Yadavs and Muslims on the ground. BJP leaders hope that Shivpal’s party could help the saffron party by eating into the SP’s Yadav votes in Lok Sabha polls.
These office bearers also don’t seem to be greenhorns. 40 of these 63, in fact, have held organizational responsibility in the Samajwadi Party earlier before joining Shivpal’s new venture. An Indian Express verification of political background of Shivpal’s new tem members reveal that while 14 of Shivpal’s district presidents had held post of district president in SP too, there were 12 others who had held post of secretary, general secretary, vice-president in SP’s district units. Additionally, while 10 of them had led frontal organizations in SP, there are four others had been state office bearers under Samajwadi Party.
The social profile and political background of Shivpal Yadav’s newly floated party appear competing with the same support base as that of Samajwadi Party which is closing ranks with BSP ahead of 2019 elections against the BJP.
Among the districts – Mainpuri, Azamgarh, Kannauj, Firozabad — where SP won in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Shivpal has nominated two Yadav and one Muslim as his district unit chief. In Mulayam’s constituency Azamgarh, PSP president Ram Pyare Yadav had been associated with SP since its foundation and he had been SP district president in the past too. PSP president in Firozabad Azeem Bhai had been SP district president too. PSP president in Mainpuri, Bot Singh had been state secretary in SP Vyapar Sabha and SP state executive members. Likewise, Kannauj president Rajesh Yadav was Yuvjan Sabha president in SP for four years and was first district general secretary of SP.
Shivpal has applied same social equation in Gorakhpur and Allahabad here SP had won by- polls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur by making alliance with BSP earlier this year. In Gorakhpur, Shivpal has appointed Haji Tahavvar Hussain — who was in SP since foundation of party–as Mahanagar president. Phulpur Lok Sabha constituency constitutes two assembly segments of Allahabad city (Mahanagar) and three of rural part of the Allahabad district. In Allahabad Mahanagar, Shahid Ali Raju is president while Shivbaran Singh Yadav is chief of Allahabad district.
In SP’s home town Etawah, Shivpal has appointed Sunil Yadav as his party district chief. Sunil had been SP’s Yuvjan Sabha president in the district from 2007 to 2015 and he was district president of main body when Shivpal had replaced Akhilesh as SP state president in 2016.
To add to the confusion of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s traditional supporters, Shivpal Yadav has also incorporated frontal organisations of his party with names similar to that of the Samajwadi Party with ‘Pragatisheel” affixed before them. Its office bearers, too, have been drawn from SP’s frontal organisations.
The frontal organisations of Shivpal have names like Pragatisheel Samajwadi Lohia Vahini and its state president Nitin Kohli was vice-president of SP youth brigade when Shivpal was SP state president. Pragatisheel Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha president Vijay Yadav was head of SP’s Lohia Vahini. Pragatisheel Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha president Lokesh Bhati was SP’s Chhatra Sabha president during Shivpal term as state president. Pragatisheel Samajwadi OBC Morcha president Anil Verma was SP’s Youth Brigade president in 2016
Incidentally, the PSP leaders make light of suggestions that they are trying to blunt the force of SP-BSP alliance against the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. They, instead, suggest their main focus is on 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, when contacted, those leaders claimed that they were working with a goal to make Shivpal chief minister of UP in 2022.
Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party chief spokesperson Dr CP Rai claimed, “Every leader on new organisation’s posts had been active workers and leaders in SP and had held organizational responsibilities there. They are dedicated workers who stood with Shivpalji in adverse situation”.
Having first drifted to SSM and finally to PSP away from Akhilesh Yadav-led SP, these leaders also do not rule out that their parent party organization will have to face a tough challenge at ground level in coming elections. Shivpal has announced to field candidates on all 80 Lok Sabha seats of UP where SP is making alliance with BSP and RLD.
PSP in-charge for Agra division Devendra Gupta who had started his politics in Congress but had associated himself with Mulayam, was chairman of New and Renewable Energy Agency (NEDA) with a rank of Cabinet Minister in previous Akhilesh government. “I have to work with goal to make Shivpal Chief Minister in 2022,” Gupta said.
Azamgarh region in-charge Ram Darshan Yadav had been with Mulayam when he was in Lok Dal in 1977. Darshan has been founder member of SP and he was elected MLA from Mubarakpur in Azamgarh district in 1993 as SP nominee. He had been state secretary in Chhatra Sabha and Yuvjan Sabha and he had been district president for 17 years. “Netaji had declared my name as candidate for 2017 polls from Mubarakpur. But Akhilesh denied me ticket after taking charge of party. In am 62. But Akhilesh even did not bother to speak me. I am with Shivpal because he gives me respect,” he said.
Two-time Lok Sabha MP and SP founder member Raghuraj Singh Shakya is PSP in-charge for Kanpur region. Shakya was elected Lok Sabha member from Etawah in 1999 and 2004 and he was elected MLA from Etawah Sadar in 2012. He was party general secretary when Shivpal was state president. Mulayam had declared him candidate for 2017 polls but Akhilesh had denied him ticket later. “Netaji (Mulayam) has asked me to stay with Shivpalji. All those who were neglected in SP, are with Shivpalji… we all will work to make him CM,” said Shakya claiming that almost all the office bearers in SSM had been full-time SP workers.
Another SP founder Baburam Nishad is PSP in-charge for Basti region. Nishad claims that he worked with Mulayam for 42 years and he had state minister rank in 1989 when Mulayam was CM and he had Minister of State rank in the Centre when Mulayam was union defence minister in HD Deve Gowda government. He held post in SP state unit as secretary, general secretary, parliamentary board member and national executive member. He had been party in-charge in Ballia in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. “But no responsibility was given to me in 2017 polls. During five years government, Akhilesh did not meet me despite repeated attempts,”Nishad said.
Bareilly region in-charge Farhat Mian was state president of SP’s Alpsankhyak Sabha when Shivpal had replaced Akhilesh as party state president for a few months in 2016. “I have been working for party since its foundation. I was election management in-charge in Rampur in 2009,” Farhat said informing that SSM’s neighbouring Meerut region in-charge Mergoob Tyagi was prabhari of minority wing in 2016.
Mulayam had recently visited Shivpal’s new party office where Shivpal had offered him post on president in new party. The bungalow that Yogi Adityanath government has allotted to Shivpal recently, is new office of PSP (Lohia). Mulayam had asked Shivpal to call convention of party. PSP spokesman Mohd Shahid said that first rally of PSP is going to be held on December 9 at Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan which will witness a record gathering. He said that rally will be against alleged “anti-people” policies of BJP government.