The Samajwadi Party suspects that ‘internal sabotage’ may have played a part in its poor performance in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Though the party did not categorically name any leader, it has given subtle hints that Shivpal Yadav, the estranged uncle of former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, is the suspect. The two were part of a bitter family feud in the months leading to and during the polls. As part of its performance review exercise, the party has claimed that some of its leaders and workers gave tacit support to the BJP. The party is trying to identity such people and has promised to act sternly against them.On Monday, SP president Akhilesh Yadav held a review meeting with top leaders and candidates from the Yadav stronghold areas — Farukhabad, Etawah, Auraiya, Mainpuri, Firozabad, Kannauj, Etah and Kasganj. The SP suffered huge losses in its stronghold this time. Mr. Shivpal Yadav has so far stayed away from the party meetings called by Mr. Akhilesh. “It has come to light that some people acted against the declared SP candidate, directly or indirectly, and gave support to the BJP,” SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said.Days after the election results were declared last month, the SP started a drive to identify those who damaged the party from within. SP State president Naresh Uttam Patel assigned party general secretaries, and district and city presidents the task of identifying the “leaders, office-bearers and workers” who worked against the SP’s candidates. In a letter to party office-bearers, Mr. Patel said the SP state office and Akhilesh Yadav himself received information that leaders and workers were working against the party in “some areas.”Mr. Patel had given the SP city and district presidents and general secretaries till March 31 to submit a list of people who worked against the party. They were asked to do it in a sealed envelope to maintain secrecy.“They need to be identified and action taken against them so that the party organisation does not become weak,” Mr. Patel wrote in his letter. The SP has convened a meeting of its district and city presidents, and state executive office-bearers on April 6. Mr. Akhilesh Yadav will address it. Bid to strengthen partyThe party is also working to stitch together a programme to “strengthen” and “activate” the party organisation, youth organisation and other frontal organisations, district and city units, said Mr. Chaudhary.