Samajwadi Party striving to gain ground in State

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Shankar M. Bidari

BANGALORE, September 29:  The Samajwadi Party (SP) is striving to gain ground in the State after its candidate C.P. Yogeshwar won the recent Assembly elections.

With the Lok Sabha elections in mind, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav appointed the former Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Shankar M. Bidari as State party unit president. Mr. Bidari, who joined the Congress in the run-up to the Assembly elections, quit over the “treatment meted out to him”. It was during the byelections to the Bangalore Rural and the Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies that he accepted the responsibility of leading the SP’s State unit.

Though Mr. Bidari does not have the experience of a politician, he was chosen to head the State unit considering the strength of the community (Lingayat) to which he belongs and the network he developed during his career in the Police Department.

He ably assisted the former Chief Minister late J.H. Patel with intelligence inputs in the maintenance of law and order. He also served as IG Intelligence when B.S. Yeddyurappa was the Chief Minister.

Now, Mr. Bidari plans to focus on building the party brick by brick. “We are starting from scratch. The process of building the SP commenced after the Assembly elections, and the Lok Sabha elections are still some months away. We want to build the party from the grassroots,” he said.

Mr. Bidari said the party would field candidates in all the 28 constituencies for the Lok Sabha elections and the selection of candidates would begin in October. The SP will field candidates with the aim of wresting the constituency and not to defeat or help any political party. “We don’t have any animosity against any political party,” he said.

The SP had some years ago tried to establish its base in the State. The former Chief Minister late S. Bangarappa resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party and joined the Samajwadi Party and successfully held his Lok Sabha seat (representing Shimoga) on SP ticket. Later, he quit the SP and returned to his parent party — the Congress. The dreams of the SP gaining ground in the State failed with that.

Mr. Yogeshwar, who contested from the Channapatna Assembly segment after he failed to get Congress ticket, succeeded in winning on his own strength.

With this victory and the appointment of Mr. Bidari as the State unit chief, the SP is making another attempt to make inroads in the State. The party used Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s Mysore connection too. Mr. Akhilesh Yadav studied environmental engineering in the 1990s in Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering. He addressed a rally of party workers in Channapatna recently, expressing the hope of building the party in the State.

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