Akhilesh Yadav was an MP from eastern UP's Azamgarh.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has chosen to quit as an MP after being elected MLA in the recent Uttar Pradesh election, turning his focus in a big way towards state politics and consolidating his vote-bank ahead of the 2024 national election.
Another Samajwadi Party leader, Azam Khan, has also quit as an MP.
The resignations, which bring down the number of Samajwadi Party members in parliament to three, reveal Akhilesh Yadav's his plan to cement his position as the main challenger to the BJP and to Yogi Adityanath in Uttar Pradesh.
Akhilesh Yadav was an MP from eastern UP's Azamgarh. He contested the state election for the first time in the March-April polls, from family stronghold Karhal in the Mainpuri district.
Sources say the former Chief Minister intends to take on the BJP as opposition leader in the UP assembly, with an eye on the 2027 polls in the most politically significant state in India.
Akhilesh Yadav was the BJP's main rival in the UP election but his party finished a distant second at 111 seats in the 403-member assembly, with the BJP scoring 255 seats on its own and 273 with allies.
However, the Samajwadi Party registered a massive increase from 47 seats in 2017, winning 32.06 per cent votes. UP deputy Chief Minister Keshav Maurya was also defeated by a candidate of the Samajwadi Party alliance in the Sirathu assembly seat near Prayagraj, in another positive for Akhilesh Yadav.
A big factor behind the Samajwadi chief's move seems to be the decimation of Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which won just one seat.
Sources say Akhilesh Yadav's strategists believe it is a necessity - not a choice - to keep the party's vote share intact and also to avoid the perception that the Samajwadi chief - the party's biggest vote-getter - is "running away" after defeat.
The party's top leaders fear that if their chief is not proactive in state politics, the Muslim and Yadav voters, who apparently backed the party in the polls, may drift to other parties.