In a desperate bid to create a public perception among the voters of Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Akhilesh in just a matter of two days inaugurated over 300 projects and laid the foundation stone of about dozen of projects — worth approximately Rs 60,000 crore — at seven venues in the state capital in just four hours on one day.
From hospitals to stadium and from kisan bazaar to milk processing unit — the projects covered a wide range of facilities for the people of Uttar Pradesh. A large number of projects were for other cities as well. Akhilesh went on an inauguration spree, just before the Election Commission announced the dates of the elections and imposed the model code of conduct in the state.
Worth a mention is the ambitious Agra-Lucknow Expressway, which he launched amid great fanfare and landing of fighter planes, on 21 November. He inaugurated much-hyped Gomti Riverfront project and flagged off the trial run of Lucknow Metro also. The aim was to pass a message to the voter that his government stood for overall development of the state and perhaps also to divert the voter from the ongoing war within the Yadav clan. It was perhaps an attempt to shrug off the anti-incumbency of the last five years of rule in the state. But are these attempts enough to lure the otherwise, politically correct voter of the state to vote for the Samajwadi Party?
There are many a things which have been strongly embedded into the minds of the voter and which would certainly be difficult to erase in the run-up to the crucial Assembly election, starting 11 February.
Law and Order
The Samajwadi party government has failed miserably on the law and order front this time around too. Public perception on this front is quite clear that the ruling party has failed to keep the crime graph down during the past five years.
To add to this, rifle totting kurta-payjama clad party activists in SUVs with the ruling party's flag flying coupled with blaring VIP sirens and threatening commuters on the road to give side to their vehicles, has been a common feature in and around every city of the state.
The commotion within
When things seemed to have fallen in place for Akhilesh Yadav, as the crown-prince-of-the-party-turned-king and seat sharing agreement with Congress (I) finalised, party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav was not completely silent. Mulayam made it amply clear that he was neither happy with the state of affairs nor was willing to turn into a silent spectator. He openly said that he will not be campaigning for party candidates this time around, making things quite uneasy for Akhilesh.
Uncle Shivpal refuses to bow down to Akhilesh
Mulayam's favourite brother Shivpal Yadav is still very much in rebellious moood. He has refused to cow down and accept Akhilesh Yadav as the undisputed leader of the party. Without mincing words, Shivpal was seen taunting Akhilesh for giving him a party ticket to contest the forthcoming polls. Shivpal did not even hesitate that in saying that he will float another party soon after counting of votes is over. He lambasted Akhilesh for giving over a hundred seats to the Congress (I), saying that this party did not even deserve four odd seats in the state. Shivpal has even vowed to openly campaign for party leaders who have been denied tickets and are contesting either from other parties or as rebels.
Veterans on rebel path
Veteran party leaders owing allegiance to either Mulayam or Shivpal have been simply shown the door when it came to ticket distribution by Akhilesh camp. While senior leader Ambika Chaudhary merrily crossed over to the rival Bahujan Samaj Party camp as party chief Mayawati was addressing a press conference in Lucknow, another senior leader Narad Rai has got a ticket to contest from Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal. There are many more such names who will be thorns in the way of the Samajwadi Party this time.
Too much reliance over media management
Team Akhilesh seems to be heavily reliant and focussed on media management this time. With Steve Jarding from Harward as his media advisor, Akhilesh is perhaps missing one point that this newly launched media blitzkrieg is not enough to wash of the sins of the past four and a half years of misrule. It is highly unlikely that the voter will forget the four plus years of government where the state was virtually ruled over by four and a half chief ministers. Worth a mention that all this time, Akhilesh Yadav was counted only as half of a chief minister.
Opinion polls will not do the trick
Opinion polls doing rounds on television channels are highly unlikely to create any impression on the psyche of voters. Three months down the line, a news channel claimed that the Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati was the favourite to form government in Lucknow. The same channel has recently claimed just the opposite by putting the Samajwadi Party - Congress (I) combine in the driver's seat. In a state as politically enlightened as Uttar Pradesh, the voter is too conscious of such surveys and opinion polls. Earlier too, many such surveys and opinion polls have fallen flat on their face, raising a serious question on their credibility.
Muslim vote - the deciding factor in UP politics
The Samajwadi Party has always been dependent on the MY factor or the Muslim Yadav combine in the state. So much is the dependence of Muslim vote and such is the tilt that Mulayam Singh Yadav has been known as Mulla Mulayam Singh in Uttar Pradesh. With Mulayam Singh clinging on to the fences and not campaigning and with his brother Shivpal's name not even figuring in the list of the star campaigners of the party, things are not going to be as easy Akhilesh Yadav would have thought of.
There is about 20 percent of Muslim vote in the state and slightest amount of confusion in the mind of the Muslim voter, could lead to a doom for Akhilesh Yadav. Samajwadi Party's arch rival Mayawati's BSP has given tickets to 100 Muslims out of the total 403 seats on offer. Also, these tickets were declared well ahead of all other parties.
It is a thumb rule that the Muslim voter seeks a party and a candidate who will for sure defeat the BJP. Voting of this class is understood to be en-block and en-masse to one decided candidate who they think will give the toughest fight to the BJP. If there is any slight swing in favour of the BSP, say five to seven percent of Muslim votes, many a pollsters and their predictions could be seen biting the dust this time around in Uttar Pradesh.
Updated Date: Feb 02, 2017 13:26 PM