Akhilesh doing a Modi? Why UP CM’s effort to sell himself as ‘vikas purush’ can backfire

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Noida | Updated: February 17, 2017 2:53:39 PM

Despite tall claims by Akhilesh Yadav government, Uttar Pradesh is placed lowly on all development indicators.

 akhilesh yadav, narendra modi, mayawati, samajwadi party, congress, pm modi, modi akhilesh, akhilesh modi, bjp, uttar pradesh assembly elections 2017, uttar pradesh assembly elections, UP assembly elections, UP elections, uttar pradesh, uttar pradesh news, UP, assembly elections 2017, assembly electionsUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, UP Congress in charge Ghulam Nabi Azad and SP candidate Aparna Yadav at an election rally in Lucknow on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is trying to sell himself to voters in the state as a “Vikas Purus” (development man). This was the same strategy Prime Minister Narendra Modi perfected during his three terms as Gujarat CM and later during the 2014 General Elections campaign. Modi was able to sell himself as the “Vikas
Purush” on the back of some significant improvement on crucial development indicators in his home state Gujarat.
For Akhilesh, however, there is a possibility that his strategy to promote himself as the “Vikas Purush” may backfire. Reason: Despite tall claims by Akhilesh government, Uttar Pradesh is placed lowly on all development indicators. The misery of a vast section of people in the state, irrespective of their caste and religious affiliations, is visible, stark.

Several reports so far have tried to press that caste and communalism are crucial factors that would sway voters’ decision. Such reports blatantly ignore that wisdom and aspirations of common people. It is probably for the first time in Uttar Pradesh, that communal and caste issues have been sidelined by talks of development by all major rival groups — BJP, SP-Congress and BSP. More and more people in the state are not only ready to rise beyond their caste and communal affiliations to vote for development, some are not even ready to buy free sops on offer but want jobs. Consider this: An HT report on Wednesday quoted several youth in Etawah as saying that they don’t want free smartphones offered by the SP if the party is voted back to power. Rather they would be happy if the government can offer jobs. Etawah is the home turf SP.

Akhilesh’s claim to fame is his few works such as Agra-Lucknow expressway, Lucknow Metro and police helplines. But on major development indicators that affect the daily life of common people, his government has not performed better than the previous Mayawati-led BSP regime.

For example: According to data analysed by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the BSP government had better Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) than the present Akhilesh government. The state GSDP growth rate during BSP regime was 5.4%, while Akhilesh government could score only around 3.6%. In the last five years of SP rule, agriculture growth declined from 2.8% during BSP regime to 1.8%. Similarly, in industry sector also, there has been a drastic decline from 3.1% during Mayawati’s rule to 1.3% during Akhilesh rule.

Not only in terms of development, Uttar Pradesh’s crime record is the biggest blot on Akhilesh’s regime as the state witnessed a spike in all sorts of crime during Akhilesh regime.

With the help of multimedia campaigns and support from some paid media, Akhilesh has tried hard to sell his development credentials to people in the state. But, data don’t lie.

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