Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has been one of the busiest campaigners in the 2017 assembly elections addressing four to seven rallies every day since January 28.
He has already attended nearly 170 rallies in as many assembly constituencies.
“ But despite my busy schedule, I do not take my eyes off my kids’ exams. I ask them about their preparation and wish them luck. They too wish me luck.”
Since the Yadav family feud erupted, Akhilesh has been calling the election as his ‘pariksha’ (test). Incidentally, his ‘test’ and the annual examinations of his three children have coincided. And this time, his wife and SP MP Dimple Yadav is also the star campaigner of the party – second only to Akhilesh.
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) is locked in what many believe is a tough contest with the BJP and the BSP for control of the country’s most populous and politically crucial state. But the chief minister is relishing the challenge.
“Yes, it is their (children’s) examination time too. But my kids understand the atmosphere. Normally, it is Dimple who pays attention to kids. But despite my busy schedule, I do not take my eyes off my kids’ exams. Every day, after I return home from whichever part of the state I had been to, I freshen up and get a low-down on their next day’s examination. Before leaving next morning, I ask them about their preparation and wish them luck. They too wish me luck,” says Yadav while talking to Hindustan Times in an interview aboard his poll helicopter.
“This way they also feel a bit independent. They have grown up now and it doesn’t make much of a difference if parents are with them all the time or not,” he says.
Speaking about his own test, he says: “Wherever I go, the energy of the crowd inspires me to do more for the people of UP. We are coming back to power. After the fourth phase, the BJP has realised this and their leaders are comparatively quiet now.”
Perhaps, nothing gives him more pleasure than listing out what all his government has done. “Metro is a reality in Lucknow and three more cities will have it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bullet train is nowhere to be seen though three years of his tenure have lapsed,” Yadav says.
“In 30 months, the Agra-Lucknow Expressway will reach the eastern end of the state. We are building facilities for farmers and will open skill development centres along the Expressway. Wouldn’t it be great to get fresh vegetables from Ghazipur to Lucknow within 6-7 hours?” he asks.
The CM does not forget to mention free laptops, smartphones, Samajwadi pension and Kanya Vidyadhan.
Claiming that the results of Mumbai Municipal Corporation election will not reflect on the outcome of UP polls, Yadav says: “Those (BMC) were local while UP election is ‘desh ka election’. This election will decide the direction of country’s politics.”
Though Akhilesh is upbeat about the SP-Congress alliance, he is non-committal on the relationship with the partner. “We are together. We will come to power but we have not discussed the nitty-gritty of the composition of the government. We will sit together again after the results. So far as the future of the alliance is concerned, things change according to circumstances. If we have come together, the alliance may not fall apart easily. Let us see how long and how far we go together,” he says.
All praise for Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Yadav says, “He is doing good in politics and corners the BJP and the PM with full responsibility.”
Asked About the feud in Yadav family, he remarks: “I cannot change history. Why look back?”