Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh, smarting from the party’s dismal show in the Lok Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh where it is in power, has given another chance to the Ministers to pull up their socks.

At a meeting at his residence here on Sunday to review the showing of the party in the Lok Sabha election and the work of the State government, Mr. Singh set the performance of the party in the coming by-election to 12 Assembly seats as the benchmark for assessing the performance of the Ministers. The polling date has, however, not yet been announced.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and 57 Ministers attended the session that went on for over five hours. The SP has to perform well in the by-election to regain its political credibility. The meeting discussed what more had to be done to counter the challenge posed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan told presspersons that the meeting discussed a strategy to ensure that the SP won most the 12 seats.

Prior to the meeting, speculation was rife that all Ministers would resign and the Ministry would be reconstituted before the Budget session of the Assembly started on June 19. Sources said a senior Cabinet Minister did suggest that all Ministers resign if the party president so desired. Mr. Singh, however, did not demand it, though he did express unhappiness with the performance of some Ministers.

On Saturday, he held a closed-door meeting with the Chief Minister and Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav. What transpired in the meeting is not officially known, but sources said performance of each Minister and steps to improve the law-and-order situation were discussed.

The BJP’s runaway victory in the Lok Sabha election in the State, with it winning 71 of the 80 seats, has caused consternation in the SP.