It’s time for the winds of change to blow strong in Uttar Pradesh (UP) – the most crucial electoral state of India. The Samajwadi Party (SP) had a clean sweep in the state, blowing away the Dalit storm of Mayawati and her brigade. Even the suave Rahul Gandhi, the future of Congress empire in India, who had repeatedly campaigned in UP, failed to convince the people with his charms. What finally worked for UP was the political strategy of SP’s grand old man Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son Akhilesh, who almost single-handedly scripted the victory for Samajwadi Party. And not quite surprisingly also, on March 10th, his name was announced as the future Chief Minister of UP.
Akhilesh at 38 would be the youngest Chief Minister in the state ever to hold the reins of power. He will be sworn in on March 15th at the La Martiniere school grounds in Lucknow. Little is known of the fact that the political spark in this young leader, born on July 1, 1973, was first noticed by the veteran Communist leader Somnath Chatterjee. Fondly called as Tipu, the CPM leader had long back said that Akhilesh be ‘allowed to be on his own’. And being on his own he never disappointed his father or his party loyalists when Mulayam had handed the party reigns to his son in 2009.
An environment engineer from Sydney University, Akhilesh’s favourite pastimes before venturing into politics were movies and football. He also happens to be conscious about his fitness regime and loved riding a specially made bicycle that helps to keep a person fit.
The best part about his leadership was that he was successful in turning SP’s anti-English and anti-computer image into a favourable light and stop giving tickets to candidates who have a previous criminal record.
It was for his Masters degree that Akhilesh went to Australia. Before that he went to Military School in Dholpur, Rajasthan and then a civil environment engineering degree from Mysore University.
However, it was when Akhilesh after returning from Sydney, was thinking to take up water pollution projects, his father, who was already then a three-times minister, drifted his line into politics. It was Akhilesh’s strategic electoral fight, 10,000 km yatra, 800 rallies spanning a period of over last six months, which played a pivotal role in annihilating Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from power.
He had been only 27 years when entered the Lok Sabha and won Kannuaj in 2000. He has been the Kannauj MP ever since.
It was a phenomenal decision that generated a lot of hype when he denied entry to DP Yadav in the SP. He appeared at a meeting in Rampur with senior party leader Mohammad Azam Khan when Mulayam Singh Yadav gave the message that Akhilesh’s decision is final.
The credit of SP getting majority on 224 seats in the House of 403 can mostly be given by his party colleagues to Akhilesh, who had immense faith in youth power to annihilate BSP. However, after he is sworn in as the next CM of Uttar Pradesh on March 15, it remains to be seen whether he is able to fulfil all his promises – provide tablets and laptops to high school and intermediate pass outs, doling out un-employment allowance which would cause excessive burden to the state exchequer. Lawlessness is crucial issue that would have to be handled with an iron hand by the party in UP.
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