In Uttar Pradesh election, it is a war of acronyms
From SCAM to Kasab, political rivals churn out an acronym an hour as the election enters final stageindia Updated: Feb 26, 2017 09:44 IST
With the Uttar Pradesh election entering the final phase, the battle for votes in the country’s largest state has turned ugly.
Barbs, accusations are in free flow, so are acronyms – even a quizmaster will struggle to keep up with them.
Addressing a poll rally in Meerut early this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took on rival parties, accusing them of corruption.
The war on SCAM
He asked the people to rid the state of SCAM —Samajwadi (party), Congress, Akhilesh (Yadav) and Mayawati.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav hit back. SCAM, the SP chief said, meant Save Country from Amit Shah and Modi. For his alliance partner and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi SCAM was Service, Courage, Ability and Modesty.
Campaigning for the fifth phase of voting ended Saturday. Fifty-one constituencies, spread over 11 districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, will go to the polls on February 27.
The alphabet soup, in the meantime, gets thicker.
BJP chief Amit Shah, who is keen to replicate the party’s Lok Sabha success in the state election, hit out at rivals with a Kasab jibe.
Ajmal Kasab was the lone Pakistani terrorist taken alive during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was hanged in Pune on November 21, 2012.
“Until Uttar Pradesh gets rid of K-A-S-A-B, there will be no development in the state. Ka (in Hindi) is for Congress, Sa for Samajwadi Party and Ba for BSP,” he said at a poll rally.
KASAB stood for Computers (Kamputer in Hindi), Smartphone And Behno ke liye dher saari yojnaye (plenty of schemes for sisters), said Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav, the wife of CM Akhilesh.
In Ka, the chief minister foretold BJP’s defeat. Ka stood for kabootar (pigeon) and the people of the state would set “your pigeons” free, he said.
BSP leader and former chief minister Mayawati, too, joined the Kasab war, saying, “There cannot be a bigger Kasab than him (Amit Shah)”.
She also had her take on the Prime Minister’s name.
Narendra Damodardas Modi stood for Negative Dalit Man, she said at an election rally.
Modi had earlier said the BSP had come to mean Behenji Sampatti Party, raking up charges of corruption against Behenji, as Mayawati is popularly known.
Not taking kindly to its leaders throwing up with new acronyms, Mayawati said the BJP had turned into the Bharatiya Jumla Party.
Missing in action: The 3 Gandhis
The 2017 polls will also be remembered for three Gandhis staying away from Uttar Pradesh.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi didn’t address any poll meeting in the state but released a video message for the voters in the Gandhi pocket boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareli on February 23, seeking support for her party. A day earlier, she wrote to the voters to defeat the “forces” that deprived them of the benefits of welfare schemes and “snatched away” everything from them.
Her daughter, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, also kept away from rallies though she joined her brother Rahul for a day’s campaign in Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency. She also addressed a meeting briefly.
The third Gandhi missing in action is from the same family but the other side of the fence.
BJP’s Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi, a cousin of Rahul and Priyanaka, has not campaigned, so far. He didn’t figure in the list of party’s star campaigners for the first two phases.
He was named in the third but chose to stay away. Varun’s ties with party leadership are strained and the gulf seems to be widening though his mother, Maneka, is part of the Modi cabinet.
Other BJP leaders missing from the campaign include veterans Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
Union minister and Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan, too, has also not been to Uttar Pradesh, so far.
The most conspicuous of the absentees, however, is SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav. Mulayam was dislodged as the party chief by son Akhilesh ahead of the election, putting an end to months of bitter family feud.
Mulayam, who led the party’s charge in 2012, has addressed a handful of meetings and that, too, in favour of his brother, Shivpal, who unsuccessfully battled Akhilesh for control of SP, and daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav.