Uttar Pradesh, ahead of assembly elections scheduled this year, has witnessed maximum political drama on all fronts. With the current familial tussle between CM Akhilesh Yadav and father Mulayam Singh Yadav appearing to go out of hand, there have been aggressive attempts to lure in voters from every other party. Congress VP Rahul Gandhi have been raising farmer issues all over the state and BJP president Amit Shah have been holding public rallies all over attacking the law and order situation of the state. Meanwhile, the chief minister, amidst all this remains a popular figure in UP despite a dismal party performance. As the old guard Mulayam Singh and son Akhilesh Yadav are cracking whips on one another, showcasing power and popularity, all the same, it remains to be seen, who can hold his own between all the confusion before the elections.
With the list of candidates released for assembly seats by SP, it is clear that the intent for a coalition is missing. Meanwhile, BJP is betting on the demonetisation move to come to power in the state. At the same time, Mayawati has been trying to capture the dailt/minority vote bank while also targeting all the other parties. Congress is in a disarray too, with uncertainty looming across the party about its strategy. After Sheila Dixit was projected as the CM candidate, there has been no proper announcement by the party and has also not taken a proper stand on the possibility of a coalition. It even threw out the popular poll strategist Prashant Kishor.
Meanwhile, as is usual before elections, UP witnessed a few people changing parties where the most surprising was that of Beni Prasad Verma, who quit Congress to join Samajwadi Party. Interestingly, he was one of the founding members of SP. Later, many MLAs from Congress and SP shifted to Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. Two of BSP members also moved to BJP. So did, Rita Bhauguna of Congress. Bahuguna is a former state president of the party and hence such a move could hurt Congress bad.
Amidst all the fracas, SP was fighting its own internal battles. The defiance started by the Akhilesh when he openly resisted his uncle Shivpal Yadav. Father Mulayam Singh had tried to make peace between the two but his siding with Shivpal, by making him SP president for UP, didn’t go down well with Akhilesh. This gave rise to an open battle where Akhilesh sacked ministers who were allies to Shivpal, and in turn, his uncle removed CM loyalists from the party. This led to a tussle during the presentation of the candidate list for the polls. Amidst all this drama, it is surprising that Mulayam Singh, a political behemoth decided to be a CM candidate when the elections can be announced any day. Meanwhile, there is a rising possibility of a Congress-SP pact as Akhilesh and Rahul Gandhi has been seen praising each other on many occasions.
All in all, BJP is counting on the measures taken by the central government and project PM Modi and his rallies, Congress is trying its hand for a coalition with SP, and Mayawati is turning to minorities and trying to remind them of the government when she was in power.