CHIEF MINISTER Mulayam Singh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party seem to have already launched a full-fledged campaign for the Vidhan Sabha elections. On the other hand, almost all the major Opposition parties appear to be in ‘sleep mode’.
They are trying to overcome internal bickering, groupism and disputes over ticket distribution, instead of preparing for the battle of the ballot.
The entire Opposition appears to have no answer to Mulayam’s hectic tours, ongoing rallies and populist announcements, which have also put at rest various rumours regarding his health. The Opposition has criticised the chief minister for giving unemployment allowance to the jobless and cash to the financially weak girl students under the Vidya Dhan Yojna.
Nevertheless, he seems to be all set to reap a rich harvest of votes because of these schemes in the impending Vidhan Sabha elections.
The State Government’s announcement of pension to those arrested and sent to jail during the Emergency shocked many. But, it was appreciated by the RSS because the Sangh Parivar workers comprised the largest chunk of those jailed. This is also said to be a calculated move on Mulayam’s part to pressure the BJP indirectly.
The Opposition’s strategy to distance Muslims from the Samajwadi Party has also failed because Mulayam has, to a large extent, politically succeeded in wooing prominent Muslim leaders.
Mulayam’s supposed support to the SIMI, despite its alleged involvement in the Mumbai blasts, has also worked in favour of the Samajwadi Party, though some Hindu organisations criticised the CM for giving a clean chit to SIMI even before completion of the ongoing investigations.
By bringing Beni Prasad Verma back to the centrestage after a long gap, he has also sent a message that he is not playing into the hands of a ‘select few’, as alleged by many of his critics. It is only the BSP, which is better organised than the other Opposition parties. The others are yet to chalk out their strategy for the Vidhan Sabha elections, or decide issues which can be raised.
The Congress, which is depending solely on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to campaign in Uttar Pradesh for its revival, is not in a position to challenge the SP or the BSP. The BJP is grappling with a leadership crisis and disputes over ticket distribution.
By any yardstick, the SP is the best prepared for the battle of the ballot.