Holi arrived two days early at the Samajwadi Party (SP) headquarters on Tuesday. As party workers hugged, danced and made merry the SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav sat demurely.
Since 8am the party office had started filling up. Some party workers sat glued to the television and a larger group indulged in a spot of sloganeering at the gates.
No sooner than word got around that a hung assembly was in the offing with SP as the single largest party, a procession of party workers marched towards Mulayam’s residence. Within minutes they were seen marching back to the party office in silence — they had been asked to restrain themselves till they were given a go ahead. A good two and a half hours later they got their much-awaited go-ahead. Almost on a cue the entire area reverberated with a series of cracker blasts, the gulal added to the festive spirit and strains of Bollywood numbers filled the air. A man spun a cycle wheel on his head, another youth dressed up as Ram ‘distributed’ blessings among party workers.
This continued unabated, till a motorcade of Mulayam and Akhilesh arrived at the party office. Mulayam’s nephew and Badhun MP Dharmendra Yadav and the national general secretary Anuradha Chaudhary (who recently left Rashtriya Lok Dal to join SP) got busy addressing the media, while the two leaders shut themselves up in the office.
The traditional Yadav bastions of Mainpuri, Etawah and Firozabad also celebrated with gusto as it became increasingly clear that the SP was all set to return to power in Uttar Pradesh.
Sughendra Pratap Singh, a young activist of Mainpuri, said, “When the counting began, all parties seemed to be doing well. Then suddenly the Samajwadi Party galloped ahead… it is clear people did not want political instability or uncertainty.”
Voting patterns reveal that it is not just the Yadavs, diehard Samajwadi supporters, and others from Other Backward Classes who voted for the cycle -- the SP election symbol. Even the urban youth had turned to it, said political commentator Paras Nath Choudhary.
Meanwhile in Lucknow, even before the assembly results started trickling in Mayawati had shifted from her official residence to 13 Mall Avenue, the bungalow allotted to her as the leader of the BSP.
Several mediapersons had gathered on the road to catch a glimpse of the CM, but in vain. A security officer said national general secretary of the party, SC Mishra was with the CM. The national general secretary, Naseemuddin Siddiqui too arrived.
(With inputs from IANS)