LUCKNOW: With the first two phases of polling over, the UP election bandwagon moved on to central UP. The third phase is crucial for it covers the Yadav country. It is home to the MSY family boroughs. When the Samajwadi Party swept the 2012 election, it was here that the party won 55 out of the 69 seats up for grabs. No wonder that Akhilesh Yadav spent the whole day in Etawah and Mainpuri on Thursday.
But with many kinsmen in the audience, the young chief minister had but to address the topic most germane to them: the family feud within the Yadav family which he has just won. So in his rallies on Wednesday, Akhilesh sought to explain his political compulsions in defying his father Mulayam Singh and distancing his uncle Shivpal Yadav. As the occasion demanded, he played the good son.
"I don't have any doubt as to whom this party belongs. It is Netaji's party in every sense and will always remain so," Akhilesh said.
He wasn't quite so obsequious as regards Shivpal, referring to his uncle's faction only obliquely and alerting the audience of fellow Yadavs to the possibility of embittered adversaries scuttling the Samajwadi party even its pocket boroughs. "This is my home and I have come here to meet everyone but who knows? Some forces are working against the party to defeat its candidates defeat here," he said.
Similarly backhandedly, he acknowledged Shivpal's efforts -- addressing the uncle in the rhetorical second person -- in building up the party to its present stature in UP: "I don't have a grudge against anyone. I accept that you (Shivpal) have put in your blood and sweat along with Netaji to build this party during the last 25 years. And now it is our responsibility to take this movement 25 years further."
As regards the bitter fight over the party's family silver such as the bicycle symbol, Akhilesh bared his arms in a 'what could I do' gesture. He was compelled to what he did.
"Had I not acted, I don't know what would have been my fate in the party," he said.
While Akhilesh's day in the home land was spent explaining himself to clansmen, the old enemy was not forgotten, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose barbs against Akhilesh have gotten sharper in the last two days due to the need to rally the Other OBC voters in the Yadav Land. Particularly pointed have been Modi's remarks that Akhilesh has chosen to make friends with the Congress forgetting that that party allegedly conspired in a murderous attack on father Mulayam back in 1984. Akhilesh, who would have been 10 years old at that time and must have some memory of that attack, replied on Thursday: "Modiji did not need to go back to 1984. If he wanted to pit me against the Congress party, he could have mentioned Firozabad which is much more recent. But this does not hit my tie-up with Congrees."
That was a reference to the defeat inflicted by UP Congress chief Raj Babbar on Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple in a byelection to the Firozabad Lok Sabha seat in 2009.
Some people put me through a very tough test. I can't imagine what would have been my stature in the party if I had the support of only 10 MLAs. -- Akhilesh Yadav