Uttar Pradesh’s Race Of The Potential Chief Ministers: Who Dares Win?

Posted on March 1, 2012 in Politics

By Shubham Singh:

The lady fond of stone elephants reads out of the paper “Dalit samaj ka seer niche nahin hone dungi kisi kimat par” (I won’t let down the Dalit community at any cost) in her speech while addressing the natives of Ambedkarnagar (formerly Akbarpur district in Uttar Pradesh). The formula “Dalits + Brahmins + Muslims = Victory” is going to work again or not? Nobody knows, even if the formula does work, which party will win the elections 2012? It is an open ended question.

Nobody knows who is going to preside over the largest state of India having 403 constituencies. The Present U.P. Chief Minister Mayawati is determined to keep her saddle intact and is frenetically working towards it and so are others, be it the youth icon Rahul Gandhi or the descendant leader of the Samajwadi party Akhilesh Yadav.

Uttar Pradesh was a congress bastion once upon a time during the period of Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. But the reign declined in the eighties because of several factors including gradual influencing of the Dalits by Bahujan Samaj party under Kanshi Ram and Muslims by Samajwadi party presided by Mulayam Singh. BJP has attracted the Brahmins. Having lost its base in Uttar Pradesh, Congress has to build it right from the scratch and this would be a difficult and arduous task. Rahul Gandhi is trying to revive the party from major devastation but doing it in such a short time span is quite debatable.

On the fall of the Congress Party, Mulayam Singh proved out to be the most successful political leader by winning the trust of the Muslims in the most populous state of India. Yadav also won a sizeable amount of backward caste votes including his community votes. With this, he was the king of his kingdom until the equations were changed by Mayawati in the 2007 elections.

It is Mulayam who is best positioned after Mayawati to be Uttar Pradesh’s next Chief Minister, but it is his scion, Akhilesh Yadav, who must be credited for making that possible, if at all. Political insiders in Uttar Pradesh say that Akhilesh Yadav by his youth and apparent sincerity has lifted the sagging fortunes of the Samajwadi Party. Partly on his exertion, Amar Singh was removed, who turned out a bad influence on Mulayam Yadav. He has kept out gangster politicians like D.P. Yadav. And on the other side of his growing self-confidence, are his frontal attacks on another scion, Rahul Gandhi.

Can Akhilesh Yadav turn his campaign advantages to poll victory for the Samajwadi Party? Why not? He displays a good understanding of Uttar Pradesh politics and has, to an extent, captured the popular imagination. He has achieved remarkable astuteness for the cycle, the Samajwadi Party election symbol. On his own, Mulayam Yadav may not have been able to do so much. Akhilesh Yadav has galvanized the party as a whole, reduced the frictions within, and made it a fighting ship. It will give a tough fight to Mayawati’s BSP.

The young scion promises of giving loan waivers to farmers, free education to girls, unemployment funds, roads, hospitals and electricity while undertaking the Kranti Rath yatra, clocking 9, 000 km and 250 constituencies. He declares his winning shot by saying if his party is voted, free laptops and tabloids will be distributed to the children operating in Hindi and Urdu languages targeting the Muslim community as well. All this while Mayawati is thinking of applying the policies of divide and rule in the State. She passed a resolution of dividing the state into four parts- Purvanchal (eastern UP), Paschim Pradesh (western UP), Avadh Pradesh (central UP) and Bundelkhand, the drought-stricken region which shares its borders with Madhya Pradesh. But her policy fell out as a dud.

SP also promises Muslims reservations equal to that given to the scheduled castes. Akhilesh Yadav promised a ban on land acquisition except in urgent circumstances and various bribes for the agricultural sector. Other sops for Muslims include the release of Muslim youths who were falsely implicated in terrorism related crimes, compensation to their families, technical education at madrasas and aid to Muslim girls for their higher education and marriage. It’s not cast your vote, its vote your caste in Uttar Pradesh.

Mayawati spent Rs 2500 crores on parks across UP. “It is because of the Congress, which ruled the state for more than 40 years, that Uttar Pradesh has been reduced to poverty, forcing its people to migrate in search of work,” says Mayawati. Addressing a huge election rally in Knowledge Park-II, Mayawati accused opposition parties of engaging in a conspiracy to shortchange Dalits and backward castes of their reservation pie in trying to cut away percentage for Muslims from the 27.5% quota reserved for OBCs. “If the SP comes to power, ‘jungle raj’ would return and society would be divided along communal lines if BJP rules the state. On the other hand, BSP has actively pushed reservation for Jats and economically backward sections of the upper castes with the central government. However, the Centre has paid no heed to this,” said the BSP supremo.

Strictly speaking, the formula should work for Mayawati this time also and she should be able to retain the seat next month for another five years. But this is easier said than done. Mayawati has lost her image because of squandering of the public money to build statues all over UP. The amount involved in sheer decoration is huge; in thousands of crores of rupees. This money could have been used to benefit the people of UP with many welfare schemes or to generate thousands of jobs by starting big factories. But she did not do it. This has annoyed the people of U.P. and this anger will be reflected in the elections. Mayawati is also associated with corruption and her image has been sullied. Of course, whatever she does will not affect her Dalit support. Mayawati in spite of her not so oratory and political nature has gone on record saying harsh words to Rahul Gandhi like “Garibon ke ghar ja kar khane, sona aur unke bacche god mein lene se garibi door nahi hoti” (Poverty can’t be eliminated by going to the houses of poor people, eating with them and hugging their children).

But can somebody tell her that it does inject a feeling of belonging in the hearts of the poor ones that there is someone who cares about them and realises the pain that they have to bear each day. But Rahul’s government is also not so clean and it can be said by looking at the current status of corruption scams, Anna Hazare’s anshan and Lokpal Bill.

At last the question still exists whether Mayawati will retain her catch over the citadel? Or will Rahul be able to regain his stand alone on the basis of his campaigns and his Iconic image? Or will the new leader Akhilesh Yadav, techno politician scion of Mulayam Singh Yadav take over the edge leaving behind others?