Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav is all set to be re-elected as its national president for third time in a row at its national convention here on Thursday, to take the party to the crucial general election in 2024.
Before the national convention, the SP has also planned to hold a state convention here on Wednesday to choose the state president, party sources said on Tuesday.
Besides the election of the party president, important issues related to the strategy for the upcoming local body elections and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are also likely to be taken up during the convention.
Thursday’s event will also deliberate on playing an effective role in dealing with the ruling BJP, which has been gaining strength with every election in Uttar Pradesh, they said.
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The SP national convention is being held after the party’s successive electoral defeats in the 2017 and 2022 assembly elections and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Taking lessons, the party leadership is working towards re-energising the organisation for the upcoming urban body elections in November-December and the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
About 25,000 representatives of the party will participate in these conventions, which will be held at the Ramabai Ambedkar rally site, SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI on Tuesday.
Elaborating, he said the national president of the party will be chosen during the national convention, while the state president will be elected during the state convention.
Akhilesh was made the party’s national president for the first time on January 1, 2017, in place of party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav in an emergency meeting in Lucknow held amidst a power tussle between him and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.
After this, the SP’s scheduled national convention was held in Agra in October 2017 during which Akhilesh was again elected unanimously as the president of the party.
It was during this convention that the party changed it constitution and increased the term of the president from three years to five years.
The post of national president of the SP, formed in October 1992, has always been held by the Yadav family.
Meanwhile, the SP’s Uttar Pradesh president Naresh Uttam Patel is likely to be retained in his post in order to consolidate the electorally dominant OBC votes.
Patel belongs to Kurmi caste, which has a significant presence in many parts of the state.
Chaudhary said besides passing resolutions on the politico-economic situation of the country and the state, a detailed discussion on chalking out the future strategy of the party and the issue of caste census will also be taken up.
“The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has created a political and economic crisis in the country and is playing with the democratic system. Being the main opposition party, the SP will discuss its effective role to deal with these issues. In these conventions, there will be an in-depth discussion on the strategy of the party in the coming Lok Sabha elections,” Chaudhary said.
Issues such as the ”weakening of” democratic institutions by the BJP, continuing downslide in economy, law and order situation and the ”endangering of social harmony” will also be specially discussed, he said.
The issues of deteriorating law and order situation in the state, the plight of education and health sectors, increasing corruption, and cheating by the government with the farmers and the youth will be highlighted through politico-economic proposals, Chaudhary said.
Meanwhile, the party’s national spokesperson Ashutosh Patel said SP founder Mulayam Singh has also been invited but he is unlikely to attend due to his ill-health.
The delegates have started arriving in the state capital from Tuesday to participate in the convention, which will be inaugurated with a flag hoisting on Wednesday at 10 am.
The task is cut out for Akhilesh Yadav to put a strong challenge to the BJP in the 2024 general election in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the maximum 80 MPs.
With the BSP and the Congress decimated in the recent assembly polls in the politically significant state, the next general election is expected to be another round of fight between the BJP and the SP.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has emerged as the new hope of the Opposition camp to stop Narendra Modi from becoming the prime minister for the third consecutive time, met Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav to forge a broader unity against the saffron party in the state.
Rumours are rife that Kumar will himself contest either from Phulpur in Mirzapur or Ambedkarnagar, that have sizeable voters from the Kurmi community.
Calculations doing the rounds in the political circles were that Kumar, with the help of the SP’s support base among the numerically important Yadavs and Muslims, could romp home from these seats in Uttar Pradesh and also generate support for the Opposition in other seats.