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SP storm blows away Maya with record performance

The 'son' rose later than usual in UP on Tuesday — around 10am when it became clear that the SP would emerge as the single largest party. Sunita Aron reports. Verdict 2012: Win some, lose some

india Updated: Mar 07, 2012 10:36 IST
Sunita Aron
Sunita Aron
Hindustan Times
Assembly polls,Uttar Pradesh,Akhilesh Yadav

The 'son' rose later than usual in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday — around 10 in the morning when it became clear that the Samajwadi Party would emerge as the single largest party. Crackers, drums, dancers and the usual gulaal appeared like magic to celebrate the party’s biggest victory so far with 224 seats, and a new hero.

Inside his residence, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav — surrounded by his family members and senior party leaders — was glued to the television set.

Even after getting absolute majority, Yadav didn't rush to the Raj Bhawan to stake claim to form government. He was busy discussing the growing clamour for the coronation of his son, Akhilesh Singh Yadav.

His cousin and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav joined the chorus as he and others credited Akhilesh with the party's spectacular turnaround. The decision on who would wear the crown would be made by the SP parliamentary board at 11am on Wednesday.

Around noon, Yadav came out with Akhilesh and cousin Shivpal to greet the workers and went to the party office a few yards away. But formalities done, he quickly resumed his marathon meeting with senior party leaders. Tuesday's poll results, the era of coalition politics gets virtually over in Uttar Pradesh — at least in public perception at the moment. In a reverse replay of the 2007 polls, the SP recorded its best performance since inception in the early 1990s.

Besides, this is the largest mandate that any party has received in the state since 1985.

When party workers were celebrating both Holi and Diwali at the party headquarters, a beaming Mulayam said,"We will fulfil all that we had promised to the people of the state in our manifesto." Akhilesh also said the party was committed to implementing the manifesto.

The result is a reminder of what Mulayam had said after submitting his resignation as chief minister in 2007: "It's now very clear that UP politics will revolve around two parties - the SP and the BSP."

The Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati - who did not send in her resignation till late Tuesday night - still occupies the second position in a four-cornered contest, though it is down in the dumps with 80 seats this time compared to 206 in 2007.

The national parties, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, have been relegated to third and fourth positions with 37 and 47 seats, respectively despite their high-profile campaigns. The scenes at the Congress and BJP camps were quite gloomy as the number of supporters kept dwindling as the day progressed.

Both parties were expecting three-digit results as a reward for the intensive campaign by both Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and BJP national president Nitin Gadkari. Still worse was the Congress' defeat in the two prime constituencies of Rae Bareli and Amethi.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders, who were playing truant till Monday, changed tack and started talking about introspection.

First Published: Mar 07, 2012 01:48 IST