The 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections will prove to be historical. Soon after it will be time for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, which may just happen on schedule. The UP polls will significantly reflect on national politics and have a far-reaching influence on the Lok Sabha elections. We all know that in terms of seats national parties are falling in numbers and consequently the share of regional parties is increasing. UP has a large number of Lok Sabha seats — 80. So the assembly election will be watched across the country with great interest. The Congress has lost credibility on the corruption front while the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is fixated on religion.
The 2012 election is very important and crucial for the Samajwadi Party as it will be a question of the party's survival.
So our vision for the 2012 poll is twin- bring back the SP government and rid the state of the corrupt, autocratic, anti-development, anti-people BSP government. Then sweep the Lok Sabha elections in the state to play kingmaker at the Centre.
We have chalked out our strategy well. Yet there would be more strategies and fine-tuning. We will tell people how welfare and development oriented the SP governments have been and juxtapose this aspect with the deeds of the anti-people and anti-development Mayawati government. We will give statistical proof of what we did for various sectors/sections.
Our first strategy was to declare candidates for the assembly elections quite early. We announced candidates for over three-forth of the total 403 assembly seats in the state. This will give our candidates an edge over them as they can prepare well in advance. More so, compared to other parties, people already know their SP candidates.
Another strategy is to project SP as the most viable alternative against corruption. It will be easy to tell people about the BSP government's corruption. The rural folk will understand this corruption easily as it's quite visible- the stone monuments, forced land acquisitions to favour industrial houses, etc
There is virtually no section of society that has not been hit hard by the price rise. We will attack both the Congress and the BSP governments on this issue because instead of controlling price rise they have been promoting it.
In Uttar Pradesh, a large number of farmers and people are directly linked to cane growing and processing. We had put the interests of the cane farmers and the cane industry high on our priority list. Before the last SP government came to power, UP was second to Maharashtra, both in cane production and sugar production. But we promoted cane farming and production so much so that UP emerged number one in the country. We had opened 24 new sugar mills. But the Mayawati government undid everything.
The SP will not only focus on rural regions, but urban areas will also be its top priority. Our cities are dying — be it Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra, or Gorakhpur. They do not look like cities and have turned into glorified slums. Water, roads, electricity, waste disposal (including sewage) and public transport will be our priority.
Size (of UP) does matter
The SP will tell people in all the regions of the state that it is more important for them to be part of a robust UP than split it into several small states. If UP gets smaller than its present size, it would lose its importance in national politics and agenda. It will be better to go for focused region-specific development goals instead of fragmentation.
(The author is the state president of the Samajwadi Party and an MP)