All political parties have come up with their list of star campaigners for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017. While Samajwadi Party list doesn’t have the name of Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh, apparently because of their fallout with UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, BJP hasn’t sought the services of veterans like LK Advani and controversial young leaders like Varun Gandhi and Sangeet Som. The Congress is banking on Priyanka Gandhi’s charisma and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on its chief Mayawati. Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party has also announced it will campaign against BJP in Uttar Pradesh but not contest in the upcoming polls.
All parties have lined up their best for the campaigning process which in all probability would be loud and tensed. Voters can expect new controversies — lies, rhetorics and propaganda flying free. Here we take a look at some of the leaders in all camps who would be closely watched and followed by both media and people. Some of them don’t worry about political correctness. They like calling a spade a spade and hence often remain in controversy.
Samajwadi Party: Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Azam Khan, Abu Asim Azmi
Having emerged from around six-month-old family feud for power, UP CM Akhilesh Yadav would be high on confidence, and may be on propaganda as well. So one can expect from sweeping remarks against opposition and even uncle Shivpal from him. It will be interesting to see if Mulayam Singh Yadav would again take a dig at son Akhilesh, or make some controversial remarks against opposition BJP, Mayawati, or women.
Watch: When Priyanka Gandhi Tore into Narendra Modi
Azam Khan and SP Maharashtra leader Abu Asim Azmi are known for making remarks that often spark controversies. Recently, commenting on the Bengaluru mass molestation incident, Azmi had sparked outrage for saying “can’t keep ants away from sugar”. A few months ago, Azam Khan had shamed Samajwadi Party and Bulandshahr gangrape victims by saying the incident was a “political conspiracy” to malign Akhilesh Yadav’s image.
Bharatiya Janata Party: Yogi Adityanath, Mahesh Sharma, Smriti Irani, General (retd) VK Singh, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Ram Shankar Katheria
Amit Shah-led BJP has its own set of motormouth leaders. The party has shown some sensibility by not having leaders like Sangeet Som and Varun Gandhi on the list. But with the presence of leaders like Yogi Adityanath, Mahesh Sharma, Smriti Irani, General (retd) VK Singh, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Ram Shankar Katheria, one can be assured that there won’t be any let down in controversial and, sometimes, stupid remarks from the saffron camp.
Congress: Priyanka Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi
Post demonetisation, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has stopped worrying about lies in his speech. He has manufactured new allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and failed to prove them. With a fight for survival for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, expect more wild allegations by Rahul. His sister Priyanka Gandhi is also known for launching no-holds-barred attacks against BJP and PM Modi. She had given glimpses of this during previous election campaigns in the state. One can expect that Priyanka would not just complement Rahul but out do him in the verbal war against BJP and the Centre.
Watch: When Azam Khan equated gangrape with political conspiracy against Akhilesh Yada
Bahujan Samaj Party: Mayawati
The fight for survival for BSP is acute for BSP, more than Congress, in UP. The party couldn’t win a single seat in 2014 General Election. Having apparently faced the pangs of demonetisation, one can expect a lot of fireworks from Mayawati.
Aam Aadmi Party: Arvind Kejriwal
With Kejriwal around, the wildest of claims ever made during an election campaign in India can be expected. Even today, the AAP leader maligned the Election Commission by suggesting the poll panel was not doing much to curb corruption and instead taking action against him. “EC fails to stop this. EC prevents me from saying-“Take money from them n vote 4 us”. EC’s msg – “vote 4 those who give u money,” the Delhi CM said in a Tweet.