More turbulent times await the Samajwadi Party (SP) as speculations are rife that two more of its Rajya Sabha MPs are set to resign from the party and join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Chaudhary Sukhram Singh Yadav, who hails from Kanpur, and Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, from Banda — both loyalists of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav — are said to be unhappy with the present leadership of Akhilesh Yadav and would be jumping ship for greener pastures.
Yadav and Nishad were nominated to the Upper House of the Parliament on July 5, 2016 and their terms end on July 4, 2022.
Having a Yadav and a Nishad leader in its fold will certainly be beneficial for the saffron party keeping in mind the by-elections to 12 Assembly seats and the 2022 Assembly elections. This will help the party in its quest for social engineering in the state.
According to sources, both Yadav and Nishad have had several meetings with senior BJP leaders in Delhi and it could be a matter of time before they put in their papers and join the saffron brigade.
The BJP is on a very strong wicket when it comes to getting Rajya Sabha members nominated from the state. With its present strength in the state, the party is certain to win at least 10, if not 11 seats of the total 12 seats, which are going to fall vacant in 2022.
On the other hand, this would be a major blow to the Samajwadi Party, which has witnessed mass exodus of its leaders in the state. The party, which had 14 Rajya Sabha MPs, saw its numbers decreasing with the defection of Amar Singh.
Singh, who earlier prefixed “Chowkidar” to his name, was seen openly praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP. He even campaigned for the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Rampur, Jaya Prada.
The next one to desert the Samajwadi camp was Neeraj Shekhar, son of Late Prime Minister Chandrashekhar, as he was displeased with Akhilesh Yadav for being denied a party ticket to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Ballia.
Among those who followed suit were Gurjar leader Surinder Nagar and the national treasurer of the party, Sanjay Seth. Seth is a prominent builder from central Uttar Pradesh and was said to be close to the father-son duo.
The Samajwadi Party is now left with only 10 Rajya Sabha members and the resignation of two more would further decrease its strength to just eight. As a matter of fact, all within the Samajwadi Party know that with its depleted strength, the party will manage to send one or a maximum two leaders to the Upper House in 2022.
Among others who would be fancying their chances for re-election would be Ram Gopal Yadav, Jaya Bachchan, Beni Prasad Verma, Tazeen Fatma and Rewati Raman Singh.
Politicians from the Mulayam clan, who lost Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and would be keen on a Rajya Sabha berth, would be Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav, and cousins, Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav.
While there are many contenders for the Rajya Sabha berth, the party is in a position of nominating just one member to the Upper House. And for this lone berth, it will be a real tough call for the party president Akhilesh Yadav to name just one person. The situation is like fitting one square peg in a round hole for him.
(Vivek Avasthi is Senior Editor-Politics with Business Television India)