LUCKNOW: The poll grapevine is abuzz with a perception that there are no takers for the Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav as a star campaigner especially after the intense family feud which resulted in Akhilesh’s anointment as the party chief and Mulayam’s unceremonious shift to the role of mentor.
But the scenario takes a dramatic turn in Mulayam’s favour as the poll reaches the sixth. The champion of Muslims’ cause is being missed by his electorate, especially in Azamgarh that sends 10 MLAs to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly.
As the impression goes, Mulayam has kept himself away from the campaigning in these elections owing to his annoyance on Akhilesh joining hands with the Congress. Having limited himself to Jaswantnagar for Shivpal and Lucknow Cantt for Aparna, the Chhoti bahu, Mulayam gave these elections a miss, leaving the onus of party’s electoral fate solely on Akhilesh Yadav and his MP wife, Dimple Yadav.
On Wednesday, Akhilesh addressed seven rallies in a row in Azamgarh, hopping from one place to the other while his wife Dimple addressed three rallies in the district on Thursday, seeking votes in Bhojpuri.
The Congress is not contesting any of the 10 sets in Azamgarh disitrict. Five of the assembly constituencies in Azamgarh fall in the Azamgarh parliamentary segment while the rest five come under the Lalganj parliamentary segment.
During the previous 2012 Assembly polls, Samajwadis had swept Azamgarh bagging nine of the 10 Assembly constituencies.
A Muslim-dominated district, Azamgarh was the only parliamentary constituency which the BJP had lost in its surge in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. 'The people of Azamgarh had chosen Mulayam for Lok Sabha. Ironically, he has not visited us even once during this election," said Mujeeb, returning from Dimple's rally.
"Mulayam preferred to keep Azamgarh and relinquished his traditional Mainpuri seat when he won from both the places in 2014. His presence would have given a psychological boost to the SP," says Naushad Ali, a shop owner in Sarai Meer area of Azamgarh town.
In the current scenario, SP is banking much upon its alliance with the Congress as it is facing a stiff challenge by the BSP for it has won the backing of Azamgarh based Rashtriya Ulema Council.
Mulayam has a huge appeal in the Muslim dominated seats as the minority has always looked upon him as the champion of their cause. Having carried the moniker of “Mulla Mulayam” for a long time post the Babri Masjid demolition, Mulayam's absence might create a sense of insecurity in the minds of Muslim voters who may drift to Maya's blue brigade.