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    Posted on 06 March 2012
    CURRENT AFFAIRS  
    ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

    Akhilesh Yadav’s ‘Samajwad’ gets stamp of approval

    Mulayam set to be next CM as SP sweeps elections with thumping majority; many veterans bite the dust

    Virendra Nath Bhatt
    Lucknow

    Akhilesh Yadav
    Akhilesh Yadav

    The Uttar Pradesh electorate has stunned political parties and pundits alike by giving a resounding rebuff to the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the Assembly elections, results for which were announced on Tuesday. What began as a trickle in the morning when the counting of votes began turned into a tornado by noon, as BSP, Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and all other contenders were swept away by the Samajwadi Party (SP) storm. SP, the party, that was barely expecting to be close to striking distance from power, emerged as the largest party and also gained full majority—leaders of the party too were stunned when its tally crossed the simple majority mark of 203 in the house of 403.

    The SP will celebrate two decades of its existence later this year by coming to power with this thumping majority, laying to rest the fears that the state may see a hung Assembly and implementation of President’s rule as a result.

    The frustration of the people against the BSP seemed to be very strong—almost all the ministers, barring a few lucky ones and Speaker of the UP Assembly Sukhdeo Rajbhar, had to bite the dust in the electoral battle. The BSP, which had won 206 seats in 2007 Assembly elections, lost over 120 seats and its tally plummeted to 80 seats. The anger of the people against the BSP is best illustrated in the Ambedkar Nagar district from where party chief Mayawati was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1999 – the party lost all the five Assembly seats in the district.

    The aggressive campaigns by Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, during which he described the previous regimes of the SP and BSP as ‘governments of goondas’, could not help the party save even its bastions of Amethi and Raibareli as the party lost nine out of the ten Assembly seats falling under the two Lok Sabha constituencies, from where Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha. In aid of her brother, Priyanka Gandhi along with her husband Robert Vadera and two children had also campaigned in the districts.

    The SP also settled an old score with the Congress by winning all the seats falling under the Ferozabad Lok Sabha constituency. In October 2009 in the by-election to the Ferozabad Lok Sabha seat, Raj Babbar of the Congress had defeated Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh Yadav, the heir apparent of SP.

    The fate of the BJP was no different as it lost even the Ayodhya Assembly seat to SP. Lallu Singh was the BJP MLA from this seat since 1991 when the Ramjanma bhoomi temple movement took roots in the district. The state president of the BJP, Surya Pratap Shahi, lost to Shakir Ali of the SP from the Patthardeva Assembly seat in the Deoria district. BJP leader and former UP Assembly speaker Keshari Nath Tripathi also lost from Allahabad. The SP also wrested three seats from the BJP in its bastion in Lucknow, represented by the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for five consecutive terms from 1991 to 2004 in the Lok Sabha. However, the party managed to save face with the success of its national vice president Kalraj Mishra from Lucknow east and Uma Bharti from Charkhari in Banda district.

    Meanwhile, political analysts have termed the trends spotted in the results as extremely positive. “The success of the SP in all regions of UP – Bundelkhand, Central, west and east UP not only demolished the myth of the dominance of caste politics but also demonstrated that the people voted by rising above the divisive issues of caste and religion,” a political analyst said, adding, “The 2012 poll results carry an inherent message to the practitioners of caste politics and social engineering”.

    The election results also sent a clear message to the criminals in politics and family or dynasty in politics. Barring two exceptions all the criminals like the mafia don Atique Ahmed from Allahabad and Mukhtar Ansari from Mau lost, while the sons and relatives of senior leaders of different parties also lost the elections. Son and daughter-in-law of the former BJP CM Kalyan Singh lost, son of Lucknow BJP MP Lalji Tandon, Gopalji Tandon, son of Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, son of Congress MP Jagdambika Pal, wife of Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, son of Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh were all rejected by the electorate.

    Though the SP has announced that party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will be the next CM, the party has given a clear message as to who will call the shots in the future. Akhilesh Yadav, state chief of the party, addressed a press conference and thanked the people for the mandate, while Shivpal Singh Yadav, younger brother of the SP chief, and other family members were absent. “People of all sections of society have voted for our party and now it’s our responsibility to live up to their expectations and deliver,” he said.

    Virendra Nath Bhatt is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.
    virendranathbhatt@gmail.com

    Editing by Arpit Parashar


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    Posted on 06 March 2012
 

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