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Akhilesh Yadav on his own? How he might shake UP politics

The young chief minister has a good image in the state and people think that he has done good work.

YadavFamilyFeud Updated: Oct 24, 2016 13:59 IST
Samajwadi Party,SP infighting,Mulayam Singh Yadav

It is extraordinary that a party like the Samajwadi party should implode and a veteran like Mulayam Singh Yadav, a man with 50 years of experience of synthesising contradictions including family differences, is not able to prevent it. This when no one in the party, not his son and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav nor brother Shivpal Yadav, have gone against his wishes.

And if today, Mulayam were to don the mantle of the chief minister, by way of a truce, few in the legislature party would be able to oppose him, not even those whose sympathies lie with Akhilesh. Most party MLAs are there because of him, he gave them tickets, he attended weddings in their families, he went to funerals of their loved ones, he has nurtured his party cadre over the decades.

Why then has a seasoned politician like him allowed the situation to come to this pass, grievously damaging the Samajwadi Party he built, almost putting it out of the 2017 electoral race, when only two months ago some surveys put Akhilesh in the first position and the buzz began to gain ground in Uttar Pradesh that he may be “repeated”.

Live: Mulayam defends Amar, Shivpal; Samajwadi meet ends in acrimony

The question that hangs out there unanswered is this: Is the otherwise feisty fighter Mulayam working under compulsions that are other than political?

Clearly, the recent war within the first family of UP, the Yadav parivar, which has divided the Samajwadi Party right down the middle, is a huge setback to the party’s poll prospects. As things stand, it will help polarise the situation between the BJP and the BSP, with the likelihood of the Muslim-Dalit combination rallying behind Mayawati. Given the numbers, this is of concern to the BJP, which has otherwise gained after the surgical strikes.

But the situation in Uttar Pradesh is changing by the hour. It may take another turn if Akhilesh is thrown out of the party, or he decides to strike out on his own at not being given his due in ticket distribution which is critical for who controls the party in the future. The young chief minister has not acquired a negative image despite five years in power. Ordinary folk see him having done “development work” in the state, and you hear this frequent refrain from them,”Bhaiiya ne achcha kaam kiya hai…”.

What if Akhilesh forges-and leads-- a Mahagathbandhan with the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Janata Dal (United) and the Congress--and hits the road as he did atop his cycle in 2012, and this alliance resonates with the youth, the electoral lineups as they exist today may well undergo a change.

Analysis: Yadav family feud will affect all contenders in poll-bound UP

But from all accounts, it is not inconceivable for a major chunk of the Yadavs to line up behind Akhilesh for the simple reason that with Mulayam ageing, they will see their future tied up with him. So might the Muslims. As also young people across different castes. Could even a section of the Brahmin community that was disenchanted with the BJP, but who did not see any chance of the Congress winning, look at such a mahagathbandhan which had Congress as its integral part?

There are undoubtedly many imponderables in the situation which is evolving rapidly, but suddenly Akhilesh has emerged as a wild card today in the pre-poll scenario of Uttar Pradesh, where the outcome next year is going to affect many a political fortune.

(The writer is a senior political journalist. The views expressed are personal.)


(The writer is a senior political journalist. The views expressed are personal.)

First Published: Oct 24, 2016 13:59 IST