LUCKNOW: Traversing through different phases of age and earning distinctions of being the youngest parliamentarian at 27 in 2000 and UP’s youngest CM at 38 in 2012, Samajawadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav seems to have finally come of age despite a series of electoral defeats since 2014.
At 47, Akhilesh, who led his party to one of the most crucial electoral battles of his life, has come out of the shadow of his father and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and established himself as the undisputed leader of socialist movement in UP and his party as the main opposition in UP’s political landscape.
The results of 2022 might not have led Akhilesh to the throne of UP, but he fought to accomplish the mission which always was considered to be herculean. He exhibited political maturity to beat the mighty BJP in its own game by cobbling up strategic alliances with smaller caste-based parties.
Akhilesh left no stone unturned to shrugg off the tag of being a ‘one family party’ and denied tickets to family members.
He tried to discipline partymen to shed the baggage of hooliganism, which his party is still carrying, and it reflected in the polls. He drew massive crowds in rallies, but convert that into votes.
He reached out to party veterans personally, projecting inclusiveness.
Akhilesh even mended the discordant notes in the family by shaking hands with uncle Shivpal Yadav and making him contest the polls on SP ticket.
After crushing defeats in 2017 followed by 2019 Lok Sabha elections, went back to the drawing board and drafted the roadmap for 2022.
He replicated the BJP caste calculus and struck tie-ups with smaller caste-based parties rather than going with Congress and BSP.
However, the strategy to induct big leaders from BJP ahead of the polls flopped. Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini lost.
Neither did the alliances bring dividends in the form of non-Yadav OBC votes.
Even the farm protests did not hit BJP as much as expected. The saving grace for Akhilesh, fighting his first Assembly election, was that he won by more than 60,000 votes from the Karhal seat in Mainpuri.
RLD gracious in defeat
NOIDA: Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Jayant Chuadhary said he respects the people mandate. His party had formed an alliance with SP.
The RLD had fielded candidates in 33 seats in western UP and eight of them won.
“I respect public opinion. Congratulations to all the winning MLAs! It is expected that they will work according to the trust of the people. Our workers have worked hard, and the struggle will continue!”