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Uttar Pradesh: Akhilesh-Rahul duo could win the day

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Yes, I’m from the bhaiyya-land, also called Uttar Pradesh or that region with the Avadhi flavour to it. But that’s all gone …a thing of the past.Though I’ve been seeing and sensing the steady deterioration in that state, definitely post-Babri Masjid destruction, but never such chaos and strife as its today out there in the open. Perhaps, along the expected script. After all, Amar Singh’s entry to the inner folds of the Samajwadi Party was more than a pointer to the upcoming divides and distortions. Theories abound. Simplistically put, this split was ‘made to happen’, so that not just distractions come about on the ‘notebandi’ fallout but also BJP could gain substantially. The communal intrusions that Amit Shah and his men had been making for the last couple of years could be forced to show results. Intrusions to be turned into full-fledged eruptions in Uttar Pradesh.

I have been talking to several people from my home state and surprisingly each one of them has told me that Akhilesh Yadav is a popular leader. To quote them, “He talks sense and his thrust on development is showing some results as the electricity situation has improved and with that small-scale projects are picking up. He doesn’t look one of those scary politicians who will snatch away our daily bread!” More to Akhilesh on the personal front – “Unlike other politicians he is very often seen with his wife and children. And unlike other politicians his name is not linked to any woman or man. He is one of those rare politicians who is happily married and that in itself is a big thing in today’s times… We see him accompanying his wife and children for various outings and events.”

And if one were to point out the high percentage of Yadavs in Uttar Pradesh’s police force and with that biased policing, and also the cases of communal rioting in the western belt of the state, one is told that large numbers of Yadavs were recruited during Mulayam’s time or under his directions, and communal rioting is linked to the RSS-BJP cadres, working full-time or over-time, to divide and destroy the very fabric of society.

And as I’m filing this column a day before the Election Commission’s verdict on Samajwadi Party’s cycle symbol comes through, the worrying aspect is what if the cycle symbol is ‘frozen’; then what would be Akhilesh Yadav’s fate? With a fractured cycle he would find it hard if not impossible to find his way amongst the voters, unless, of course, he chooses the next best: the tricycle or the rickshaw!

Whatever symbol he manages to grab, he should break away from his father’s camp and strike on his own. Not just the sympathy wave is in his favour but also the youth brigades who see him as their leader. Many of the young I have spoken to have relayed that they see him as a hapless son caught in the midst of the warring factions of his clan: what, with his father and step-mother and their cronies helped by the likes of Amar Singh and the BJP combined.

There is a popular theory doing the rounds: if Akhilesh breaks from his father’s ‘dangal’ and joins hands with Rahul Gandhi of the Congress then these two young men could take on the BJP combined. Yes, if a formula could be worked out between Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav it would pave the way towards some hope for the region. And if only Priyanka Gandhi also pitches in, it could be a win. After all, political strategists have been stating that Priyanka has a hold on the masses. With that, the three of them - Rahul, Priyanka and Akhilesh, could be marching far ahead of their political rivals.

The ground reality in that state as in other states is that people are actually fed up and disgusted. They can no longer survive on speeches alone. They want to live with some of those basics promised to them. They are getting impatient and apprehensive by the day. It wouldn’t be amiss to say that this generation does realize that the state of Uttar Pradesh would be ruined, bifurcated and trifurcated along caste and communal lines if they give in to the dictates coming in from the top quarters of the RSS-BJP.

Its worrying to know what more disasters would erupt if the political games are not contained. There is worry on the communal situation spreading out even in the drought-hit belts. After all, the Ayodhya issue has been kept alive for the political surcharge to get hideous as elections near. Instead of rotis, there could be bricks thrown about here and there, at the softest possible targets.

And if one were to ask about BSP’s Bahen Mayawati and her impact on the political scene, there are differing viewpoints: She is keeping a low profile and that could mean either she’s confident of the Dalits and Muslims voting in her favour or else she is waiting for the situation to ripen in her favour.... Yes, the communal situation was less volatile during her term as chief minister and the minorities did feel somewhat secure, but then those hyped splashes of her cake-cutting ceremonies or that constant glare on her crores-worth elephant statues trampled upon her and her very image.

This year, 2017, could prove to be one of those crucial years. Going by the trends of the past few weeks, the very survival could get tough…tougher that is.

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