The severe jolt to caste politics in the recent Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh has also put a question mark on the future of Yadav politics in the state.
Several Yadav leaders from the Samajwadi Party (SP) as well as those in other parties have faced defeat in the elections, indicating that Yadavs are no longer voting for their community, instead they are now voting for a party of their choice, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this case.
Dimple Yadav, wife of SP President Akhilesh Yadav, lost her Kannauj seat to BJP’s Subrat Pathak, a Brahmin. Kannauj has about 3.5 lakh Yadav voters which made it a safe seat for a Yadav candidate.
The defeat of Dimple Yadav clearly indicates that the Yadav community did not vote for her en bloc and went with the BJP instead.
Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav could win his Mainpuri seat by the lowest margin of his career. He won by 94,000 votes and lost from the Bhogaon Assembly seat.
Raghav Yadav, a young computer engineer from Tirwa in Kannauj, said, “As a young man, I am looking for a party that ensures a secure future and job for me. The Samajwadi Party has not done this. It gave unemployment allowance, but no employment. The days of caste politics are over and SP leaders should realise that they will not get votes only on the basis of caste.”
Apart from Dimple Yadav, two other members of the Yadav family — Dharmendra Yadav from Badaun and Akshay Yadav from Ferozabad — have been defeated. Other Yadav leaders like Bhalchandra Yadav (Congress), Ramakant Yadav (Congress) and Shivpal Yadav (Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party) also lost the elections.
A senior legislator of the Samajwadi Party, who did not wish to be identified, explained, “Our leaders should open their eyes and see that the era of caste politics is over. Yadavs are shifting to the BJP because SP has not done anything for them. The benefits of power have been shared by one family. Any Yadav candidate who tried to get votes in the name of the community has faced defeat. This phenomenon has been seen in Bihar too, where the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was made to bite the dust.”
He further said that the party wrote its own epitaph when it gave only two tickets to upper castes and the rest to OBCs. “Naturally, the upper castes did not vote for us and Yadavs also moved away to the BJP. The Samajwadi Party will have to broad base its politics and can no longer be ‘for Yadavs, of Yadavs and by Yadavs’ because Yadavs have already found greener pastures,” he explained.
A veteran SP leader, who has been pushed to the periphery in the Akhilesh Yadav regime, was more forthcoming. He said that Mulayam Singh Yadav made sure that other caste leaders were also a part of his coterie.
“Whether it was Rama Shankar Kaushik, Janeshwar Misra, Beni Varma or Bhagwati Singh –Mulayam Singh Yadav made sure that they all got importance. Akhilesh (Yadav) turned it into an all-Yadav party and no party can survive on the basis of just one caste. If SP has to survive, Akhilesh will have to give the party a makeover and make it performance-oriented instead of caste-oriented,” he stated.