The Samajwadi Party (SP) completed 20 years of its existence on 4 October 2012. As the SP completed its 20 years, the ‘Samajwadians’ got an opportunity to celebrate, while the Opposition parties began discussing the good and bad points of the SP. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has clearly stated that during his political career, Mulayam Singh Yadav has never done ‘politics for development’ : he was involved only in the politics of racism. Although the SP has completed its journey of 20 years, the political journey of the SP Chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, is much longer. Twenty years do not matter much for any political party : it is a very short period to be in politics. But all this cannot be said about parties like the SP, because Mulayam Singh in the name of ‘Netaji’ has dedicated his whole life to leading this party and except one or two leaders, all his close associates have been from his own kith and kin. Apart from his kith and kin, only those leaders were allowed to stay for a longer period in the party who had the potential of garnering vote banks from any community.
For Muslim votes the SP has leaders like Azam Khan and for ‘Vaishya’ votes they have leaders like Naresh Agarwal. For the votes of the ‘Thakurs’, the SP Government has good relationships with a few leaders like Raghu Pratap Singh popularly known as ‘Raja Bhaiya’, who is a non partisan Legislator and a Minister in the Akhilesh Government. But when the heart of Mulayam became set on ascending the throne of Delhi, then he chose none other than his son Akhilesh as his successor, although he knew that there were other leaders in the party who were more capable than Akhilesh. The other leaders of the party should oppose this decision, but they never do it. Perhaps they have the knowledge of how capricious politics can be. The SP has gained enough name and fame in the last 20 years. The politics of UP has always been dancing in and around the SP; similarly the SP never leaves any opportunity in helping the Central Government to move forward as they desire. In the last 20 years the only big change that has occurred in the SP is that the standing of Akhilesh has become the second highest in the party and he has also become the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. This happened due to the calibre of Akhilesh – this may perhaps not be heard from others except those in the SP. If he hadn’t been the son of Mulayam Singh then perhaps he would never have got this chair so easily.
Mulayam Singh Yadav took his first step in politics by winning the Vidhan Sabha Elections in 1967 from the United Socialist Party. After that he has won in 1974 from the Bharatiya Kranti Party, in 1977 from the Janata Party, in 1985 from the Lok Dal (People’s Party), in 1989 from the Janata Dal, in the 1993 Mid-term elections form Shikohabad, in the 1996 Mid-term elections from Sahaswan
Twenty years do not matter much for any political party : it is a very short period to be in politics. But all this cannot be said about parties like the SP, because Mulayam Singh in the name of ‘Netaji’ has dedicated his whole life to leading this party and except one or two leaders, all his close associates have been from his own kith and kin. Apart from his kith and kin, only those leaders were allowed to stay for a longer period in the party who had the potential of garnering vote banks from any community.
Electoral Constituency, in the 2004 by-election from Gunnaur and in the 2007 Assembly Elections from two places viz. Bharthana and Gunnaur. Mulayam Singh has won the Vidhan Sabha Elections 10 times in totality. In the Lok Sabha Elections in March 1996 he won from Mainpuri, in February-March 1998 from Sambhal and in October 1999, he was selected as a Member of Parliament (MP) from Kannauj and Sambhal. He was selected as MP for the fourth time in the 2004 Lok Sabha from Mainpuri, but after he became the Chief Minister he resigned as an MP and became a Legislator. Mulayam Singh, who has been the leader of the Uttar Pradesh 3 times and was a Cabinet Minister, has more experience than the SP. He has been given the title of ‘Dharti Putra’ (Son of the Soil). Mulayam Singh, who has the honour of interacting and moving in tandem with leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayprakash Narayan, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Ex- Prime Minister V.P Singh, Chandrashekhar, Ex- Chief Minister Ram Naresh Yadav, Banarsi Das, has considered many leaders as his ‘gurus’, but when opportunity arose he never hesitated to move forward and leave them behind.
Some time ago it was said that Mulayam Singh is a man who kept his word, but in the recent past this quality has not been seen in Mulayam. He has achieved many feats, and people like Amar Singh who had once influenced him strongly also came in to his life. It was during this period that from ‘Dharti Putra’ (son of the soil), Mulayam Singh became a ‘Five Star Culture’ leader. Mulayam Singh, who has protested against the communal politics of the BJP all his life came very close to Kalyan Singh on the recommendation of Amar Singh. Muslims hold Mulayam Singh responsible for the Babri Mosque incident. It is a different matter that he had apologised for it later.
However, whatever ups and downs the SP has gone through over the last 20 years, the credit or otherwise goes to one and only person — Mulayam Singh. During these 2 decades, the Samajwadians, under the leadership of Mulayam Singh have covered a long journey of struggle from the streets to Parliament. He not only brought the SP to power in Uttar Pradesh 4 times on his own, but has also become a big support for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre. It is a different matter that the SP has recovered its price more than fully.
The Samajwadi Party, which has become a strong alternative in Uttar Pradesh on its own among parties like the BJP, Congress and BSP, has formed a Government on its own 4 times. In the last 2 decades the SP has got the opportunity of leading both the Government and the Opposition. During 1985-1987, Mulayam Singh was the Leader of Opposition in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. In 1996, Mulayam Singh was given the opportunity of being included in the Ministry of Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral. Mulayam Singh, along with other recognised leaders of the United Front. This led to big recognition of the SP at the Centre. The 20 year journey of the SP has in fact been replete with many sweet and sour experiences. During this period, several friends of the SP became foes and vice versa. Leaders like Beni Prasad Verma and Rasheed Masood who used to move together with Mulayam have left the SP and leaders like Naresh Agarwal and Azam Khan have joined the SP.
In the 2012 Vidhan Sabha Elections, by winning 224 seats on his own, Mulayam Singh has silenced the people who used to say that Mulayam has now become a damp squib. Now the intentions of the SP under the leadership of Mulayam are to show their magic in the coming 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. The SP wants to win 60 seats from Uttar Pradesh to confirm the candidature of Mulayam Singh for the Prime Minister’s post. If they succeed then this achievement will be written in history in golden words, but if we look at the past history of the SP, then we will realise that it will not be easy for them. The SP was able to win only 35 seats from Uttar Pradesh in the 2004 Lok Sabha Elections. And looking at the party position from its formation till today, they won 16 seats in the 1996 Lok Sabha Elections, 20 seats in the 1998 Lok Sabha Elections, 26 seats in 1999 and in the last Lok Sabha Elections they won 23 seats. After winning these seats, although the SP was unable to be part of the UPA Government, but is now an ally extending outside support. The SP cannot hold the upper hand in front of the BSP but the game of checkmate has been continuing between them for years. However, the SP is doing very well in stopping the BJP and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh. In the history of Uttar Pradesh politics in the last 2 decades, the SP is the third party which won elections with a full majority. Before this, the BJP won in 1999 with 211 seats and then the BSP won in 2007 with 206 seats, but in the 2012 Vidhan Sabha Elections the SP has broken all previous records and was ahead of the numbers required for a full majority. Of course, during these 2 decades, the SP has had to ‘compromise’ with just a 100 seats too. It is a different matter that despite this the SP was still the second largest party in the Vidhan Sabha. In 2012, the SP achieved its ambition of forming the Government with a full majority. Now it will be worth seeing whether they will be able to complete their ‘Mission 2014’ under the leadership of Mulayam Singh. After so many milestones and achievements, the SP is still waiting to see Mulayam Singh as the Prime Minister. Actually, the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections are the only chance left for Mulayam Singh to fulfill his dream of becoming the Prime Minister of India. This is not a prediction, but a simple calculation based on his ‘age’.
SP-BSP : Allies Became Rivals
The SP was formed on 4 October 1992. This was the day when Mulayam Singh decided to move alone on his own. This decision became a milestone for Mulayam and his party and set the path for the future. But he made an alliance Government with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1993 after winning 109 seats in a spectacular manner. After this first and very big achievement, Mulayam’s stars began shining brightly in politics. In 1993, Mulayam Singh Yadav got the opportunity of becoming the Chief Minister of the SP-BSP Alliance Government. This was the second innings of Mulayam Singh as a Chief Minister, before this he had already led the Government of the Janata Dal, which was formed in 1989. When the SP and BSP came together and formed the Government, then a stir was created in political circles. People began feeling that if this SP-BSP alliance keeps moving forward then it will leave all the other parties behind. But this alliance lasted for only one and a half years and after the State Guest House incident at Lucknow, the SP and the BSP became arch rivals.