Akhilesh Yadav- The SPs modern face

By: | Updated: 10 Mar 2012 02:45 AM

Akhilesh Yadav, who scripted the Samajwadi Party’s spectacular victory
in the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, is seen as its modern face who
gave it an image makeover.

Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh
Yadav was always seen as a party of the old mindset in a state whose
politics is dominated by caste and religious issues.

With his
father said to be not in the best of health, Akhilesh, 38, took on the
role of the party’s chief campaigner and gave it a new dynamism talking
of development and eschewing personal attacks against rivals. One of the
important accomplishments of his was that he played a leading role in
shedding SP’s image of being anti-English and anti-computers and also in
denying tickets to candidates with criminal antecedents.

Born on
July 1, 1973, Akhilesh studied at the Military School in Dholpur,
Rajasthan, and then acquired a degree in civil environment engineering
from the Mysore University. Akhilesh finished Masters in environmental
engineering from the University of Sydney, Australia, in 1998 and was
contemplating taking up water pollution projects when his father and three
times Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav drafted him into politics. He cut
his teeth early in politics.

He had faith in the party’s gritty
electoral fight to remove the BSP from power; personally that translated
into a 10,000-km yatra, 800 rallies in UP over the last six months and a
systematic attempt at an image makeover for his Samajwadi Party, all of
which paid off. Akhilesh has been high on visibility in these elections.
The red Gandhi cap, white kurta pyjama and black sleeveless jacket have
been ubiquitous as he dashed to every corner of the state.

He was
27 when he entered the Lok Sabha first, winning from Kannauj in 2000, when
his father vacated the seat having won two — Mainpuri and Kannauj. He
has been the Kannauj MP since. In this assembly polls, from ticket
distribution to managing party campaigns, Akhilesh was seen in decisive
position indicating his future role since the start of electioneering.

he denied entry to DP Yadav in the party, he appeared at a meeting in
Rampur with senior party leader Mohammad Azam Khan when his father gave
the message that Akhilesh’s decision is final. The credit of SP getting
majority on 224 seats in the House of 403 was given by the party to Mr.
Akhilesh, who trusted youths to create a network to oust BSP.

Chief Minister, Akhilesh’s skill would be under test in fulfilling
promises made in the party manifesto which is not going to be an easy
task. It would be seen how he manages to provide tablets and laptops to
high school and intermediate passouts, doling out un-employment allowance
which would cause excessive burden to the state exchequer.

party has for long had an image of being lax in tackling lawlessness and
Akhilesh has a tough task on hand in dealing with the issue given the
background of the militant image of SP workers, especially at a time when
violent incidents, which have broken out after the party came to power,
were attributed to them.

He has started with an assurance that
the party government would not tolerate lawlessness and will tackle it
with an iron hand. Despite being aware of the power he wields in SP, Mr.
Akhilesh always presented himself as a modest young man.One of the
challenges he faces will be in his dealings with the party seniors who
maybe upset at the sudden transition taking place in it.

2009 onwards, Mulayam had started giving signals that he was grooming
Akhilesh when he was made in charge of shortlisting party candidates for
the 2012 assembly polls. All those who approached Mr. Mulayam were
referred to Akhilesh with their documents. Leaders like Ram Gopal and
Shivpal were systematically kept out of the exercise.

By early
2010, SP had announced its first list of candidates for the assembly
polls. On the evening of March 6 when the results were announced, Mulayam
drafted Akhilesh to thank the people of UP for bringing SP to power.
Barring old faithful Rajendra Chaudhury — state unit spokesperson —
Akhilesh was flanked by members of his youth team.

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First Published: 10 Mar 2012 02:45 AM
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