Is Akhilesh's citadel crumbling?
Lucknow, July 10 (IANS) Is Akhilesh Yadav's citadel beginning to crumble?
There is trouble within the party, trouble with allies and trouble in the family.
Tipu (nick name of Akhilesh) is no longer the Sultan of all he surveys. Failure, they say, is an orphan and Akhilesh is a classic example of this.
Knives have been slowly out for him after he failed to get close to a majority in the recent Assembly elections.
Party leaders blamed him for wrong candidate selections, preference to turncoats and shifting seats of senior party leaders at the last minute.
Akhilesh did not include senior leaders, including his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav, in the election campaign and his one-man army was pitted against a galaxy of campaigners from the BJP.
Naturally, he could not match up to the high-voltage campaign of the ruling party.
Shortly after the Assembly elections, the Samajwadi Party lost its two strongholds --Rampur and Azamgarh -- in the Lok Sabha by-elections.
Akhilesh had not campaigned in these by-elections and his excuse was that his partymen had told him that victory was assured in these seats.
"The problem with Akhilesh is his arrogance. He refuses to take advice from senior leaders -- in fact he keeps them at bay. He refuses to meet party leaders and workers cannot even venture close to him. There is growing resentment within the party ranks and it would be tough for him to keep the party together till the next election," said a senior functionary.
The SP's failure in the Assembly elections and then the by-elections has led to trouble with the allies.
Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) leader Om Prakash Rajbhar, who asked Akhilesh to move out of his air-conditioned drawing room, was snubbed for 'unwanted advice'.
A miffed Rajbhar expectedly walked into the BJP parlour on Friday to attend a dinner hosted in honour of NDA presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu.
"When I was not invited to the meeting held for Yashwant Sinha a day earlier, what is wrong if I go where I am invited? It is for Akhilesh to decide how he wants to move ahead in future," said Rajbhar.
Shivpal Singh Yadav, president of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL), was another ally, who attended the dinner for Murmu.
"I was not invited by SP for their meeting with Yashwant Sinha. I presume they do not want my vote. Even in the past, SP has not invited me for their meetings even though I was elected on SP symbol. Why should I subject myself to humiliation over and over again," he told IANS.
Raja Bhaiyya, a former minister in The Akhilesh Yadav government, is upset after Akhilesh insulted him in his own constituency in Pratapgarh. He has also announced his vote and support for the NDA Presidential candidate.
The Mahan Dal and Janwadi party have already disassociated themselves form the Samajwadi Party, citing Akhilesh's arrogance as the main reason.
In the Yadav family, the chinks are also growing wider. After Aparna Yadav -- Mulayam Singh's younger daughter-in-law -- walked into the BJP fold earlier this year, Shivpal has been making his displeasure clear.
Another relative, Hari Om Yadav has also joined the BJP.
A senior family member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "The party has been losing election after election under Akhilesh's leadership and it is time that he wakes up to smell the coffee. We lost 2017 Assembly polls, the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and now the 2022 Assembly polls and then the by-elections. Unlike Mulayam Singh, Akhilesh does not believe in keeping friends and foes together. I doubt how long the party will last."