LUCKNOW: Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s slogan ‘UP ke ladke’-- Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi-- pitted against ‘outsiders’ Modi and Amit Shah appears to have struck a chord among youngsters as evident from the heavy turnout at the road shows and rallies of the duo. But, how far will this crowd convert into votes? The answer to this question will decide the fate of Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance.
The idea--UP ke ladke--seems a bid to send a message that this is an alliance of youth power. The poster carrying the slogan and the pictures of the scions along with All India Congress Committee chief Sonia Gandhi and the SP patriarch is a crowd-puller at rallies and road shows. “A large number of them are there just to watch a rare sight of Akhilesh and Rahul together. But will their coming together also instill a faith for the alliance? The jury is still out,” says a political commentator.
Political observers believe that the catchline conveys a ‘non-serious youthfulness’ rather than portraying the two leaders as astute politicians who are ready to take command of the demographically biggest state of the country. “It may dent brand Akhilesh which the SP scion has managed to build over a period of time through his ‘Kaam bolta hai’ rhetoric as the ‘UP ke ladke’ is seen compromising the political gravity of the alliance,” says a political analyst.
As the perception goes, before joining hands with the Congress, Akhilesh was focusing more on delving on the achievements of his government rather than resorting much to rival’s opposition. Akhilesh had successfully cut out an image of a straight, unblemished and honest politician in the making for himself. But the latest slogans portray him more as a youngster having joined Congress vice-president who is perceived as the one who still needs a broader political orientation and better perspective of polity.
The young allies need to shift their political rhetoric on burning issues rather than harping on note bandi in order to gain ground as two mature leaders, says another observer.
Moreover, the catchline to sell the alliance portrays Congress leader piggybacking the incumbent SP CM who is believed to have earned goodwill through his development card. Rahul Gandhi is yet to arrive politically in UP though he has been a three-time MP from the state.
As the stage was being set for Assembly polls, the Congress vice-president, in a bid to gain ground in the state, made some movements through his Kisan Khat sammelans in some parts of the state but failed to sustain the effect as he vanished from battleground UP for a considerable time.
While Akhilesh justifies the alliance as a step to consolidate his party’s prospects in the ensuing polls, Rahul is often found grappling with replies on his party’s ‘27 saal UP behaal’ slogans which also included 13 years of SP government.
Initially, Congress had contemplated to base its UP campaign on the issue of lack of development in the state during the last 27 years of non-Congress rule. But after tying up with the Samajwadis, Rahul, who has not been able to revive party in the state, finds it equally difficult to convince his voters that Akhilesh was not that bad a CM but he was not allowed by several conflicting forces to perform to the best of his abilities.
However, now Akhilesh may also be identified with ‘UP ke ladke’ slogan along with RahulGandhi, but Jiska Jalwa Kayam Hai, Uska naam Mulayam hai, (Mulayam shines) still holds water at least for the previous generation which makes a major chunk of voters in the state.