Peace and tranquility, which had started to recede, seem to be returning to the former UP chief minister and Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav’s persona. It is a confident and jovial Akhilesh who faced the media recently. Gone were the traces of irritation, withdrawal, suppressed anger at the media, (he apparently largely blames the media for his party’s debacle) which had almost become a part of him ever since the Samajwadi Party suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of BJP in the state Assembly elections in April this year. He seemed more like his former jovial self and was at ease amongst the jostling and enthusiastic youngsters, warmly congratulating the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha (SCS) team as he presented them before the media on October 23, letting them bask in the glory of their recently acquired victory.
Under the party banner he claimed that the youngsters had made the impossible possible. They made a clean sweep at the Allahabad University Students election, ensuring a humiliating defeat for the RSS-BJP backed Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP). By winning four of the five seats, including that of the president, and that too with huge margins, the SCS injected the much-needed adrenalin into the nearly dead Samajwadi Party. At the same time SCS also seemed to have chalked out a clear political roadmap for Akhilesh’s ride back to power on the youthful and strong shoulders of the party’s huge youth brigade.
The family feud leading to political defeat, mud-slinging and BJP government’s white paper on the SP misrule had taken a heavy toll on Akhilesh. After months of turmoil, apparently a little thaw in the frosty relations between the party architect and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav has lead to some respite. This came close on the heels of the former chief minister being elected to the post of the national president of the party at its national executive meeting held at Agra on October 5. This has fortified his political arena and sent a loud and clear message to all inside and outside the party as to who is the boss.
The 55-member executive that was elected comprises young faces who owe total allegiance to Akhilesh and Akhilesh alone. Keeping just a few, he has blatantly left the oldies out in the cold. The axe has fallen heavily on uncle and powerful SP member Shivpal Yadav. Nailed as the sole villain in the entire family drama which lead to the party’s humiliating defeat in the Assembly elections, Shivpal has been shown the door. For Akhilesh’s favourite uncle Ramgopal Yadav, who not only has remained on his side but is also said to have masterminded the entire family drama, a special post has been created.
Dostana with Congress to continue
It is clear that the SP-Congress alliance is here to stay. Akhilesh Yadav has made it clear that while his party will go it alone in the Gujarat elections they will only be contesting on five seats and the rest will be left for the Congress. Akhilesh said that he did not wish to in anyway spoil the game for the Congress on Narendra Modi’s home turf. Akhilesh said while he will be campaigning in Gujarat for his party candidate he is open to campaign for anyone who is fighting against communal forces lead by Modi.
But this press conference was more like old times. The auditorium in the party office was once again brimming with energy and enthusiasm. The senior leaders though few — like Ahmad Hasan, Ram Govind Chaudhury, SRS Yadav — all seemed at ease and singing the Akhilesh tune. Despite carrying Netaji’s (Mulayam’s) loyalist tags, they have been accepted and stamped by the Akhilesh team and now breathed easy.
While congratulating the newly elected office-bearers of the Allahabad university student’s union, the SP president said the students in different Indian universities have registered their strong protest against the BJP’s anti-youth and anti-student policies and false promises of providing jobs to the unemployed. He appeared to have accepted his present fate and appeared all geared up to settling down in the shoes of the Opposition which had pinched him hard in the earlier months when he lost power.
Big anti-ABVP wave witnessed at AUSU polls
Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha (SCS) made a clean sweep at the Allahabad University Students Union elections by winning four out of five posts. While Avanish Kumar Yadav won as President, Chandrashekhar Chaudhury became the first Dalit vice-president of the University. Bharat Singh won the Joint Secretary post and Awadesh Kumar Patel ‘Shanu’ became the Cultural Secretary of the Central varsity.
Nirbhay Kumar Dwivedi , Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of RSS-BJP candidate, won on general secretary ticket by just 62 votes.
2015- 2016 were two years of ABVP rule in the University.
Terming the SCS victory as a victory of secularism and socialist ideology, Akhilesh dedicated the day to youth power. He stressed that youth power cannot be ignored. “Yeh nayee urja, Samajwadi Party ki urja baneygi,” (This youth energy will convert into the energy of the party), declared the young leader voicing his inner thoughts and giving a clear indication that he intends to ride back to power on youth energy.
Expressing pride that his party has maximum support of the youth he said that New India needs the power of youth and his party ideology believes in respecting and encouraging them. Praising the contribution of youth in politics Akhilesh said that youth of Uttar Pradesh had the capacity to bring about a total change in the country and can give a new direction to politics. Amidst loud cheers he declared his intention to hold more meetings with his youth brigade.
While dwelling on the reasons that led to the defeat of the ABVP, Akhilesh said that ABVP’s misbehaviour with girl students at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and spearheading violence and eve teasing across universities in India has turned the student fraternity against the right-wing students’ group. He said for the SP the political inspirational idols have been Ram Manohar Lohia and Jai Prakash Narayan and thus they are being welcomed by the youth.
In a tone that was laced with hurt and unexpressed anger, the former chief minister came down heavily on the BJP for taking credit of all the good work done by the SP government, such as inauguration of the metro rail which his team had completed in record time and also the magnificent Lucknow Agra expressway, which now Indian Air Force has selected for military exercises of its fighter planes.
He said the metro rail was being projected as Yogi and Modi’s achievement whereas the truth was that in Gujarat, the home turf of the Prime Minister, they have not been able to complete the metro project which was started 12 years ago.
Akhilesh bhaiyya all the way
Enthused youth leaders voiced their deep admiration for their ‘Akhilesh bhaiyya’ and termed him as their political messiah. But the student leaders did not fail to hail Mulayam too in their speech knowing that it was still the need of the hour.
According to them their success was ensured by the wrong and ineffective style of functioning of the previous ABVP leaders on the campus. They said that the BHU fiasco, mass deaths of infants in Gorakhpur Medical College, demonetization and GST were all reasons of their victory but they said that the treachery, against their Akhilesh bhaiyya’s government was also the major reason why the students voted for them.
The SP chief was critical of the ‘Hindutva’ impression given to the masses by the BJP government in the state which is unbecoming of a leader of a secular country. Taking a dig at Yogi Adityanath and his ministers’ anti- Taj Mahal statements Akhilesh said that as an admirer of good architecture he is all praise for the monument. He said that he has visited the Taj Mahal with wife Dimple and even taken a photograph outside the Monument of Love. He said he is now eagerly awaiting the photograph of Yogi on the bench too.
Asserting that Taj belongs to the nation and it is sad that it is being embroiled in a controversy in the name of religion, Akhilesh added that had his government got permission of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) he would have ensured more beautification around the Taj.
Senior SP leader Ram Govind Chaudhury and Ahmad Hasan, both present on the occasion, also added their voice to promoting youth power in the party. Chaudhury, who started his political stint as a student leader while applauding the AU students victory said that history has been witnessed to the fact that governments have been pulled down by the energy and dedication of youth and he is confident this will prove to be the case this time too. He called Yogi’s rule as unghoshit apatkaal (undeclared emergency) and said that it seems that today the fight is Akhilesh vs Modi.
Air force set for Expressway drill
The 32 km-long Lucknow-Agra Expressway constructed by the Samajwadi Party government at the cost of a whopping 15,000 crores will double up as Indian Air Force fighter planes exercise ground runway.
Indian Military has chosen 12 national highways for this purpose and this state of art Expressway is one of those which has been shortlisted.
The Express way recently opened its maiden exercise here. Super Hercules, Jaguar, Miraj 2000 landed here and performed air exercises much to the delight and amazement of the thousands of people who had collected at the site to witness this amazing show of India’s military strength.
An alumnae of Allahabad University, Ahmad Hasan said that the winning team deserves a special pat as they had not only been pitted against very ‘gadbad’ (difficult) opponents, their fight was during a very difficult time and environment. He said the SCS members are lucky to have fought the elections under the leadership of a vibrant, honest and principled leader like Akhilesh Yadav. Calling Akhilesh an obedient son, Ahmad, a Mulayam Singh loyalist, said that he has great admiration as despite all the senior Yadav said against Akhilesh he maintained a respectful attitude and did not dilute the dignity of the father-son relationship.