For a party that repeatedly claims to provide an alternative to the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh, successive defeats in the Assembly, Lok Sabha and the bypolls do not augur well for the future of Samajwadi party, the main opposition party in the state.
The Samajwadi Party (SP), under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav, could not win even a single mayoral seat out of the 17 on Saturday and also failed to retain the Suar Assembly seat that it had held for years. The SP also failed to wrest the Chhanbey seat from the Apna Dal (S).
The SP has been on a losing spree since 2017 when Akhilesh took away the reins of power from his father, late Mulayam Singh Yadav, in a much-publicised coup of sorts.
The party miserably lost the 2017 Assembly polls and was left with barely 47 seats. The SP had contested the Assembly polls in alliance with the Congress and both parties got decimated.
In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Akhilesh joined hands with Bahujan Samaj Party -- a decision that was strongly disapproved of by the party seniors.
While SP did not benefit from the alliance, the BSP walked home with ten Lok Sabha seats. The alliance snapped immediately after the polls.
In the subsequent months, the SP lost its Azamgarh and Rampur seats to the BJP in by-elections.
Finally, in 2022, the SP struck an alliance with smaller parties, including the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), but this did not work as well and the SP was nowhere close to the majority mark.
Ahead of the 2023 civic polls, Akhilesh mended fences with his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav but the effort was too late and too little.
Party workers are now questioning the leadership abilities of Akhilesh Yadav and whether he has the calibre to counter the growing influence of BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
Troubles are set to multiply for the SP president as the Lok Sabha polls come closer.