When Prime Minister Narendra Modi thrashed the Congress party in 2014 General Election, it was hoped the age of dynasty in the country is over, if not forever then at least for some years. Modi’s disgust for dynastic politics is so strong that he has called for making India “Congress-mukt” (rid of Congress) publicly on several occasions. But such is his fate that the more he thinks he has broken the rib of dynastic politics, the more the dynasty finds ways of survival — it happened in Bihar, it is now happening in Uttar Pradesh. Dynasties have joined forces.
Samajwadi Party, now led by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, is all set to fight the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in an alliance with Rahul Gandhi’s Congress. Another son in the alliance, according to reports, will be Ajit Singh of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). He is the son of former Prime Minister late Choudhary Charan Singh. Ajit Singh’s son Jayant Choudhary is also active in politics and in all likelihood he would also contest on a RLD ticket.
Imagine the sons — Rahul, Akhilesh, Ajit and Jayant — campaigning together from the same stage, mocking Modi and the BJP. Will Modi or the BJP survive the multiple assaults from dynastic leaders, who could have been nothing if not born in a dynasty?
Meanwhile, over four months of an interesting political drama that unfolded in episodes in the state is now almost over. The so-called factional fight for power in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party appears to have attained its reportedly desired objective — to boost Akhilesh’ image as a strong leader. The was achieved on Monday when the Election Commission of India granted full rights of the party symbol ‘Cycle’ to Akhilesh and his supporters. It is now the time of sons.
While Shivpal Yadav, whose image played in front of the public as a villain in the family feud is curiously missing from the scene for the last two days, Mulayam has asked Akhilesh to give a ticket to Shivpal’s son, who is still in his mid-20s, according to an NDTV report. With Rahul in the company of the Samajwadi sons, sure they will benefit from each other’s experience.
For Rahul, it is no secret that prime agenda of Congress party is to promote him as the future Prime Minister of the country — someone who can stand in the way of Modi and the crown in 2019. This is the reason why despite Rahul’s multiple failures, Congress always finds ways to keep itself afloat.
By the virtue of its size and spread across the country, the Congress think tank is perhaps confident to fill the national void whenever Modi falls. Congress-SP alliance in Uttar Pradesh can be seen as a part of the national party’s long-term agenda.
In 2015, Congress became a junior partner in a ‘mahagathbandhan’ led by Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) and Lalu Yadav’s RJD in Bihar. The grand alliance strategy worked because Lalu gave up his age-old political enmity with Nitish Kumar for the sake of his sons. The win not only helped Congress survive in Bihar but also made Lalu’s two inexperienced sons important ministers in the state. Nitish saved his chair, Modi lost to Lalu’s dynastic tricks.
The result of Uttar Pradesh elections will not have much effect on Modi’s fortune in 2019. For it will be a new year, with new issues. For now, however, the moot question is — whether UP residents will vote for the dynastic forces or for the new “hope” Modi is trying to sell hard?