After fighting himself into a losing position from his high post of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, despite trying his hand at all kinds of strategies including the deft use of ‘drama’, Akhilesh Yadav has been well and truly drubbed by the strategically superior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by the adroit Amit Shah who was given the task of carrying out a campaign that rode on the shoulders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a firm focus on his gung-ho, can-do spirit. Shah managed to create for PM Modi the iconic position in India of a man of action who is not scared of implementing far-reaching policies that cut through corrupt layers of governance in the government as well as the political firmament – the biggest example was the note ban order which the public interpreted as a move to deprive/trouble the rich. But, even in defeat, Akhilesh Yadav has refused to admit that the better man won. Last time, 5 years ago, Yadav had effected a massive win for himself; this time, he was no match. Addressing a press conference after being soundly defeated by the BJP in the UP elections (trends show BJP winning 324 seats), Akhilesh did not blame himself, his party, the Congress or even his new-found friend in the form of Rahul Gandhi. Instead, he chose to provide 2 major reasons that caused his downfall – one was too common and the other was an eye-ball grabber.
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The commonplace one was when he said that there was rampant fraud in the electronic voting machines (EVMs). He was repeating what Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati had said a few hours ago. She too had blamed the EVMs being manipulated in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s favour. To bolster her claim, she had asked how can BJP win big even in hardcore Muslim dominated areas and she added, “It is a matter of common discussion here that even if button is pressed for any other party, vote will be polled in favour of BJP.” Akhilesh, on Mayawati’s allegation of tampering, said, “If questions have been raised on EVMs, the government should probe it.”
He then moved to the second even more astonishing reason for the Samajwadi Party defeat and this had to do with the public and its development. He said that the Samajwadi Party did a great job in bringing economic changes in Uttar Pradesh with its policies and this is seen on ground in infrastructure projects like the new Agra-Lucknow Expressway. However, he said that this may not have been enough, expectations of the people may well have been higher, he said, “Janta humse bhi achcha kaam chahti hain.” (The public wanted work done that was even better and bigger than what we did). While that was a humble acceptance of facts, Akhilesh ruined it all by saying that perhaps with notions of bullet trains and more, ‘logo ko behkaya gya hai or woh behkave mein a gaye hain.’ In short, he blamed the public for being seduced/hoodwinked by dreams of bullet trains. He made the remark worse by saying the public may well have been influenced (behkave) into voting the way it did.
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Clearly, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh is still in campaign mode and has failed to realise that even the counting is over and his seat has been snatched away.
In characteristic fashion, to go along with his spectacular statements, Yadav ended by saying, “Haar ki samiksha karne ke baad hi zimmedari lunga koi.” (I will take responsibility for nothing till we have carried out a review of the defeat).