Acid test ahead for ?Big Five? in State | india | Hindustan Times
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Acid test ahead for ?Big Five? in State

THE POLITICAL scene in Uttar Pradesh is set to hot up in the New Year, which may also be an election year in the State. Following the ascent of Rajnath Singh to the BJP?s top slot, national presidents of all the four major political parties ? the BJP, the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party ?are from Uttar Pradesh, a state that has given maximum number of prime ministers to the country. And if one also includes the Rashtriya Lok Dal in the list, then the fifth national president too is from UP.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2006 01:26 IST

Five parties, five presidents and elections likely this year

THE POLITICAL scene in Uttar Pradesh is set to hot up in the New Year, which may also be an election year in the State.

Following the ascent of Rajnath Singh to the BJP’s top slot, national presidents of all the four major political parties – the BJP, the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party —are from Uttar Pradesh, a state that has given maximum number of prime ministers to the country. And if one also includes the Rashtriya Lok Dal in the list, then the fifth national president too is from UP.

It’s, however, ironical that all the five presidents may perhaps have to face their first acid test in UP alone, if elections are held by year end as is being speculated.

Their problems too are somewhat similar. None of the parties is politically healthy enough to get a majority on its own in the state. Both Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former BJP prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had been constantly concerned about the party’s health during the last Lok Sabha elections. Both knew that the road to power at the Centre went via UP only.

Though the BJP lost the crown, the Congress had to sew an uncomfortable alliance to form the government. Thus while both the BJP and the Congress need to take some steps to augment party’s popular support in UP to actualise their dream of ruling the country independently, Mulayam faces the major problem of arresting the party’s sliding graph before the forthcoming elections. And though the perception in political quarters is steadily growing about Mayawati’s grand comeback after the polls, she may still need poll partners to consolidate her base.

One wonders if she would look towards the BJP now that Rajnath Singh is at the helm. The Congress will always remain a second option for her as she fears losing her vote bank of Dalits to the party. The Congress and the BJP also face another major problem – that of growing indiscipline in the party’s rank and file, shrinking infrastructure of committed workers and emergence of power centres. Even the SP is not totally untouched by this malaise. However, there is a difference.

While the Congress president is the tallest leader of the party whom no one can question, Rajnath Singh may have to face problems from his own state satraps, who till date are unable to digest his meteoric rise to the position leaving them far behind in the race. Moreover, while the Congress president is fully seized of the party’s situation in UP and elsewhere, Rajnath may have to first work on building his national image.

As for Mulayam, he never admits decline in his party’s graph as well as growing indiscipline in the party. As a bureaucrat summed it up, “There is no one to tell him that people moving with party flags on their vehicles were largely responsible for party’s poor image”.

But there is still some time left for them (each one of them) to introspect and make amends. The heat is already on with allegations and counter allegations turning louder with each passing day. How far these will take them at the time of the Big Fight remains to be seen.