Akhilesh Yadav failed to cross the finishing line despite some push from the Congress as the bitter power struggle within his family and an aggressive poll campaign by the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned out to be unsurmountable hurdles for his ‘humbled’ cycle.
His ‘kaam bolta hai’ slogan failed to strike a chord with the voters of Uttar Pradesh who rejected the Samajwadi Party and supported the BJP overwhelmingly. The issue of his alliance with the Congress is also being debated.
Known for his dynamism, 43-year-old Akhilesh in March 2012 became the youngest person to hold the post of chief minister of Uttar Pradesh at the age of 38. Akhilesh, who dons the mantle of Samajwadi Party president after the bitter power struggle in the Mulayam clan, led his party’s campaign for these assembly elections.
As the chief minister, he was actively involved in developing rural life and working for the welfare of farmers and the poor.
He is known as one of the young faces in Indian politics and the youth of the state rallied behind him in the run up to the election and backed him to the hilt when the party was passing through worst crisis.
Born on July 1, 1973 in Saifai village in Etawah district, Akhilesh completed his schooling at Dholpur Military School in Rajasthan.
Thereafter, he completed his Bachelors and Masters degree in Civil Environmental Engineering from Mysore University.
He also studied in the University of Sydney, from where he holds a degree in Environmental Engineering. By profession he is an engineer, agriculturist and a socio-political worker.
In 2000, Akhilesh was elected as a member of the Lok Sabha in a bye-election for the first time from Kannauj. Thereafter, he won the Lok Sabha elections for the next two consecutive terms. In 2009, he was re-elected to the Lok Sabha for a third consecutive term.
After Samajwadi Party swept to power in UP in 2012, Akhilesh was appointed the leader of the Samajwadi Legislature Party and at the age of 38 years, he became the youngest chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
He resigned as member of the Lok Sabha to become Member of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council.
In the run-up to the 2012 Assembly elections, his innovative style of campaigning across the state through cycle rallies was a great success as it became quite popular among voters of different communities especially the young generation.
This time too he went full throttle to drum up support for his party, especially in view of under currents of dissension after the bitter power struggle within in the Yadav family which hogged headlines for days and weeks together.
During the family feud, which started in June 2016 when his uncle Shivpal Yadav announced merger of mafia don Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal with SP, he took a stern stand against it.
The family has been divided into two feuding groups pitching Akhilesh against his father. Akhilesh has the support of his father’s cousin, Ram Gopal.
On 30 December 2016, Akhilesh was fired from the party by his father a day after he released a separate list of candidates for the upcoming elections, only to be readmitted the next day.
The following day he was elected as the national head of SP by his party’s national convention in Lucknow, replacing his father who termed it as illegal. However, as the UP polls were near the matter went to Election Commission, which finally recognised Akhilesh group as the real SP and gave it ‘bicycle’ symbol.
Armed with the EC order, Akhilesh went ahead with forging an alliance with Congress, much to the chagrin of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Akhilesh married Dimple Yadav on 24 November, 1999 and has two daughters and a son. Dimple is also a politician and MP from Kannauj.
Akhilesh has keen interest in sports such as football and cricket. His favourite pastimes include reading, listening to music and watching films.