Samajwadi Party (literally, Socialist Party) is a political party in India. It is based in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It describes itself as a democratic socialist party. It was founded on October 4, 1992.
The Samajwadi Party was one of several parties that emerged when the Janata Dal (People's League), India's primary opposition party prior to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), fragmented into several regional parties. The Samajwadi Party is led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, a former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and a former defence minister of the country.
The Samajwadi Party is primarily based in Uttar Pradesh. Its support is largely based on OBCs (Other Backward Castes), particularly Mulayam Singh Yadav's own Yadav caste, and Muslims. It has contested Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections around the country, though its successes have been mainly in Uttar Pradesh. In the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh in 2003, the Samajwadi Party gained 7 seats, making it the third largest party in the state. When its candidate won the by-election of Lanji (Balaghat) in 2007, its total tally reached 8.
In the 15th Lok Sabha, it currently has 22 members, making it the third largest party in that house.
In the recently conducted 2007 Uttar Pradesh legislative elections, the SP won only 96 seats as compared to 146 in the previous election. As a result, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had to resign, with his rival Mayawati, leader of the BSP (which won a majority of 207 seats), sworn in as the Chief Minister.
Position in state and national politics
The Samajwadi Party tries to maintain an equal distance between the INC and the BJP at a national level as the 3rd largest party in parliament. But its main rival in Uttar Pradesh is Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which has emerged as a major political force in the state. The BSP primarily focuses on Dalit and backward caste votes. The Samajwadi Party continues to be the third largest party. In general elections, 2009, it bagged 23 seats coming behind the Indian National Congress with 206 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party with 116 seats.
Recently WBSP of Kiranmoy Nanda has merged with SP. As of now, SP has 4 MLAs (including one minister) in West Bengal, 3 MLAs in Maharashtra, 2 MLAs in Bihar and one MLA (after 2008 polls) in Madhya Pradesh.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (a local political party of Maharastra which has been in numerous controversies for attacking the North Indians living in Maharastra and has received country-wide protests and condemnations) had criticised the Samajwadi Party for celebrating Chhat Puja on a wide scale. This festival is important in Hindi-speaking states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The MNS accused the Samajwadi Party of using this festival to lure the votes of the North Indian residents in Mumbai. MNS workers tried to attack Samajwadi Party workers who were proceeding to attend a rally by the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), which was addressed, among others, by the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh, at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
A major controversy resulted from comments made by the SP's MP for Rajya Sabha, Jaya Bachchan, at a Bollywood function. Bachchan was alleged to have hurt the Marathi sentiments and after which Maharashtra Navnirman Senaactivists went on the rampage in Mumbai, tearing off posters of films featuring members of the Bachchan's family. However, she later on apologised and said the comments made by her were completely unintentional and that no one should take them seriously.
The party also attracted some controversy in 2009 by nominating Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt as a candidate for the Lok Sabha seat of Lucknow. Dutt is currently appealing his conviction for possessing illegal firearms. He was convicted as part of the investigation into the 1993 Bombay bombings, though he was cleared of conspiracy to commit terrorism. The SP general secretary, Amar Singh, has announced that, if Dutt is disqualified from standing, his wife Manyata Dutt may stand in his place.
Noted SP figures
- Mulayam Singh, Founder, first National President, former Union Defence Minister and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
- Brijbhushan Tiwari, vice-president
- Mohan Singh , General Secretary & Spokes Person
- Ram Gopal Yadav, General Secretary, Member of Parliament and Rajya Sabha party leader
- Kiranmoy Nanda, General Secretary, Minister for Fisheries, Government of West Bengal
- Akhilesh Yadav, Member of Parliament(Lok Sabha), State President of Uttar Pradesh
- Dr Sunilam,National Secretary,Ex MLA,EX Leader SP legislative Party M.P
- Nafees Ahmad , General Secretary of Ujan Sabah
- Haji Zameerullah Khan MLA of aligarh and Nager incharge of Aligarh
- Zoha Usmani Prisedent of Student Union and incharge
- Abu Asim Azmi, Member of legislative assembly from maharashtra, former State President of Maharashtra
- Shri Shailendra Kumar, Member of Parliament and Chif Whip Samajwadi Party in Lok Sabha
- Shri Drigesh Yadav-Vice President Mumbai
- Shri Brijesh Yadav-Gen Secretary Yuvjan Sabha Mumbai
- Shri Ashok P Yadav-Gen Secretary Yuvjan Sabha Mumbai
- Rajya Sabha website
- As per the recent judgement by Supreme Court, Sanjay Dutt would not be allowed to contest 2009 national elections. Press Trust of India, 10 January 2009.