UP election: SP’s Akhilesh Yadav faces a tough fight on home turf | assembly-elections$uttarpradesh-2017 | Hindustan Times
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UP election: SP’s Akhilesh Yadav faces a tough fight on home turf

assembly elections Updated: Feb 14, 2017 00:56 IST
Shashi Shekhar
UP election

SP followers believe, whatever the differences, the family will close ranks again, though Shivpal Yadav loyalists argue that what happened was not good and the sordid episode would be reflected in the results.(HT File Photo)

The flowering mustard fields roll on for miles all around once urban limits end and the road to Auraiya is no different. It’s as if it would inspire someone to break into the famous classical song of Malikka Pukhraj, which extols exactly such a sight.

But just like the crop laden and keeling fields, humans in these parts too are crushed by the weight of history — a history that is now lost on them.

Ask any among the youthful generation and they have not heard about ‘Commander Saheb’ and easily ascribe all socialist success to Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav alone.

Read more | Can the low-key Akhilesh Yadav win the high-stakes UP battle?

This is the same arc, which extends from the ravines of the Chambal and along the doabs of the Senger river that wind and twist, amidst which the first seeds of socialism in practice was sown, much before Independence.

The first socialists — all youths — led by Arjun Singh Bhadoria had formed the ‘Lal Sena’ with the avowed objective of bringing the administration to a standstill, if need be, by force.

His activities impressed men like Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan and Acharya Kripalani, who promptly nicknamed him the ‘commander’.

Bhadoria was elected to Lok Sabha three times and his wife won a Rajya Sabha seat. Mulayam learnt the ABC of socialism from the likes of Bhadoria. It’s another thing that by the time he died in 2004, Socialism had vastly changed colours and Bhadoria was already a forgotten man.

Read more | UP elections: Voters feel Yadav feud a necessary evil

In swathes of Etawah, Mainpuri, Firozabad and Auraiya, the considerable sway of the ‘Socialist Family’ is visible. But then ask whether the recent family feud would impact the polls and answers are as different as
they come.

SP followers believe, whatever the differences, the family will close ranks again, though Shivpal Yadav loyalists argue that what happened was not good and the sordid episode would be reflected in the results.

Many believe that some decisions taken by the SP during the boards and city corporation polls were controversial and party cadres felt let down.

“But there is ‘nothing’ that cannot be retrieved, if ‘patriarch Mulayam’ or ‘Akhilesh Bhaiyya’ could sit down with people and wipe their tears,” say the constituents.

The BSP is intent on cashing in on this ‘kill-joy split’ within the SP ranks, as is the BJP. Their strategies are geared to play on the divisions, which make for a tough outing for Akhilesh in his own backyard.

Read more | In UP today, Akhilesh Yadav is both Karan and Arjun

Win or lose, the lot of potato, wheat and mustard farmers is not likely to change in a hurry around here. Their grievances over power, irrigation water, fertiliser shortages and unavailable loans remain largely unaddressed, though women do appreciate here the Akhilesh initiative to set up police emergency units like 1090 to attend to their distress calls and usher in some measure of law and order.