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The Times of India
The Times of India
Kumar Shakti Shekhar | TNN

SP to gain in 2024 with Akhilesh Yadav quitting Lok Sabha seat, say party leaders

NEW DELHI: While BJP workers are jubilant over the party’s victory and return of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister for a second consecutive term, the mood is no less upbeat in the rival Samajwadi Party (SP) camp.

SP leaders and workers are pleased with party president Akhilesh Yadav for resigning from his Lok Sabha seat Azamgarh and retaining the Karhal assembly seat which he won in the recently-held assembly elections.

Yadav tendered his resignation to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on March 22. Another senior SP leader, Azam Khan, is also learnt to have resigned his Rampur Lok Sabha seat and decided to retain his assembly seat.

Yadav was also elected leader of SP legislature party on March 26, thus paving the way for him to become the leader of opposition in the UP assembly.

The move has enthused party leaders and workers. They believe that if Akhilesh Yadav can single-handedly take SP’s tally from 47 seats and 21.8% vote share in 2017 to 111 seats and 32% vote share in this year’s elections, the party’s performance can be much better in the 2024 Lok Sabha and 2027 UP assembly elections.

Sources in SP said the party would gain a lot if Yadav chooses to become the leader of opposition. On Saturday, Yadav was unanimously elected leader of the SP legislature party, paving the way for his elevation as LOP.

SP leaders believe Yadav's image would have taken a beating if he had resigned his assembly seat and chosen to retain his Lok Sabha seat. It would have been seen as running away from BJP in the state.

A senior Samajwadi leader said on the condition of anonymity that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have tried to paste the label of a dynast on Yadav but the SP chief minimised the role of his family in the recent elections. Neither his wife Dimple Yadav nor his uncles were seen campaigning for the party.

They said Yadav’s uncle Shivpal Yadav’s party Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party got only one seat to contest. No other family member contested the elections. Even SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav only made a couple of brief appearances.

Talking to TOI, SP national secretary and spokesperson Rajan Chaudhry said, “The move is in favour of not just the party but also of the people of the state. The BJP now needs to worry.”

He claimed that the BJP’s style of functioning was one-sided and dictatorial. “Akhilesh Yadav’s presence in the assembly will be a challenge to BJP. The SP president, along with party MLAs, will be able to put a check on the BJP's waywardness. The main opposition party will give a tough fight to the ruling party inside and outside the assembly,” he said.

Chaudhry claimed that SP’s fight in favour of farmers, youth, women and development and against injustice would get bolstered with Yadav's full-time presence in the state.

Asked about the loss of two out of five Lok Sabha MPs of SP, he said, “It's positive outcome will be seen in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections when SP’s number of seats will see a dramatic increase.”

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