After Samajwadi Party’s (SP) “Pichhda, Dalit, Alpsankhyak (PDA)” formula failed to leave a mark on the Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Rajasthan assembly polls, unemployment seems to be the SP’s new plank for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. The party has given a new slogan: “Har Ghar Berozgar Maange Rozgaar”.
Besides, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, who also panned the Congress for the poor performance in the MP polls, said if his party is voted to power, it will shut down the BJP government’s Agnipath scheme.
Taking aim at Agnipath, unemployment
“I appeal to people to remove the BJP government and bring us into power. We will make sure that the Agnipath scheme is removed. Such four-year jobs can’t ensure security for the nation. The nation will be secure when the Agnipath scheme is removed,” said Akhilesh, who is on a two-day visit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, while addressing the gathering during a programme in its Cholapur town on Monday. The former UP chief minister also highlighted the issue of unemployment and gave the slogan “Har Ghar Berozgar Maange Rozgaar”.
On the SP’s defeat in the four states, he said, “Ladai abhi lambi hai (the fight is long). The states in which we lost were not well aware of the BJP’s strategy, but we are,” the Samajwadi Party chief said.
The PDA formula emerged soon after the SP won the Ghosi by-election in UP’s Mau district in September. Analysts and some politicians had called it the party’s fresh attempt to woo the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The SP used the same formula in the MP and Rajasthan polls but it came a cropper.
BSP too fares poorly
However, the SP is not the only regional party to have performed poorly in the recent assembly polls. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) secured just two seats in Rajasthan, came third on 110 seats in MP, netting the third largest vote share of 3.38 per cent in the state, while ending up with a 2.5 per cent vote share in Chhattisgarh.
Both the SP and BSP failed to win any seats in Madhya Pradesh. Of the total 230 constituencies in MP, the SP contested in 71 and the BSP in 181. In the 2018 assembly polls, the SP had bagged one seat in MP.
The BSP failed to win any seat in MP this time and its vote share too dropped from 5.01 per cent in 2018 when it had bagged two seats. In three seats, its candidates stood second: Yadvendra Singh in Nagod with 17,369 votes, Balveer Singh Dandoiya in Dimani with 24,461 votes, and Kuldeep Singh Sikarwar in Sumawali with 1,56,008 votes.
Blame game begins
The SP, however, blamed the Congress for the poor show in MP. “Ramdhari Singh Dinkar (Hindi poet) famously said that when destruction befalls a person, conscience dies first. The loss of Madhya Pradesh is due to the indecent statements given by Kamal Nath ji about our national president Akhilesh Yadav ji. It is true for other places also where the Congress lost. Their leaders became egoistic,” said SP spokesperson Manoj Singh Kaka.
In Rajasthan, while the SP was blanked, the BSP’s Manoj Kumar won the Sadulpur seat by 2,574 votes against Congress’s Krishna Poonia, while its candidate Jaswant Singh Gurjar defeated BJP’s Giriraj Singh “Malinga” in the Bari seat. In 2018, the BSP had won six seats in the state. The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) also won one seat in Rajasthan, where it contested as a Congress ally. The party’s candidate Subhash Garg won Bharatpur again, this time by 5,387 votes, defeating BJP’s Vijay Bansal.
Political analysts said that rather than focusing on the age-old caste-based politics, the regional parties have to understand that they have to think differently and be more connected to the ground. “BJP’s pre and post-poll exercise or groundwork is too strong. Other regional parties, rather than going overboard, should do serious thinking and act accordingly,” said Shashikant Pandey, head of the political science department at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University.