Lucknow: Defeat, they say, is the best adhesive and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh is learning this the hard way. After being sidelined for almost two-and-a-half years, party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav seems to be back in reckoning even as questions over the `failed leadership` of Akhilesh Yadav start doing the rounds.
SP President Akhilesh Yadav has led the party to its worst defeats - in 2014 when he was Chief Minister the SP ended up with just five Lok Sabha seats, in 2017 when he became party President it was reduced to 47 seats in the 403-member Assembly and in 2019, despite allying with BSP, it could just hold on to its five seats.
Mulayam Singh Yadav won his Mainpuri seat with the lowest margin of his career - 95,000 votes.
After the Lok Sabha results came in, Akhilesh Yadav has been turning to his father for advice and guidance - something he did not do in the past.
The senior Yadav, to begin with, has asked Akhilesh Yadav to reconnect with non-Yadav leaders in the party and demolish the perception that SP is an all-Yadav party.
Senior leaders like Reoti Raman Singh, Bhagwati Singh, Om Prakash Singh, Manoj Pandey, Arvind Singh Gope, Narad Rai and Radhey Shyam Singh are being called for discussions with Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Mulayam Singh Yadav also wants senior leaders in the party to be involved in decision making and has asked Akhilesh Yadav to ensure the return of those leaders who have left the party in the past two years.
If informed sources are to be believed, Mulayam Singh Yadav has asked his son to build bridges with his estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav.
Shivpal Yadav, who floated his own Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) last year after a prolonged feud with Akhilesh Yadav, failed to make his presence felt in the Lok Sabha elections. Shivpal Yadav lost his own election in Ferozabad and none of his candidates could even rank second in the polls.
According to the sources, Shivpal Yadav has softened his stand towards Akhilesh Yadav but wants "issues and hearts to be clear" before he agrees to return to SP. "These elections have a message for Akhilesh as well as Shivpal. They should realize that united they will stand and divided they will fall. Mulayam wants his son and brother to reunite so that the party remains relevant," said a senior SP leader known for his proximity to Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Akhilesh Yadav, the sources said, will soon open his doors for party workers and will be meeting them without prior appointment. The SP headquarters had become almost inaccessible for all -- including party workers and media persons-in the Akhilesh regime.