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    Posted on 14 March 2012

    The party is over and the bill is due: Akhilesh Yadav

    “Will deliver to the people,’’ promises UP’s next CM who will take oath on Thursday

    Virendra Nath Bhatt

    Akhilesh Yadav

    Photo: Shailendra Pandey

    While all political parties claimed to attract young voters in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the results proved that the youth were with the Samajwadi Party. Unsurprisingly, young voters top the CM designate Akhilesh Yadav’s list of priorities. Akhilesh (38) will formally take over the reins of the state on Thursday 15 March.

    “Unemployment is the big challenge before us, the problem is so deep and pervasive. I had never expected the huge turnout of youth to get registered with the employment exchange,” said Akhilesh Yadav talking to Tehelka on the eve of his swearing-in ceremony. “Whatever the enormity of the problem of unemployment, come what may, my government will fulfill the promise made in the party manifesto,” he said.

    It is relevant here to recall that two promises of unemployment allowance and distribution of free laptops and tablets to the students and youth, made in the manifesto of the Samajwadi Party, which spread like wild fire and forced other political parties to change their agenda and accommodate the aspiration of the youth in their respective manifestos. According to the SP’s manifesto, the age limit for a government job will be increased to 35 years and those who have crossed this age will be entitled to an unemployment allowance of Rs 12,000 a year.

    Asked whether the state government can bear the additional burden on state exchequer on account of the proposed unemployment allowance, free laptops and computers, the CM designate said: “It’s a question of political priorities. If the UP government can spend thousands of crores on parks, statues and memorials then why not for ensuring a better future for the students and sense of belonging for the unemployed youth? We will take all possible measure to fulfill the promises made by us to the youth of the state.’’

    When asked what he credited the SP’s win to, Akhilesh said, “Our sustained struggle against the corrupt and insensitive regime of the Bahujan Samaj Party mobilised the youth to get behind the SP. We were able to send a clear message to the people that only the SP can dislodge the BSP.”

    “The BSP government,” he added, “unleashed a reign of terror against our cadres. They were persecuted, faced third degree torture by the police and thousands were imprisoned for months and years on fake cases that mobilised the youth behind the SP.”

    What attracted him towards the ideology of socialism? “My upbringing and family environment had a lasting impact on me. Janeshwar Mishra who was popularly called `Chote Lohia’, initiated me into politics, for which I had no inclination. Netajee (Mulayam Singh Yadav) had introduced me to him two decades ago and Janeshwar Mishra had predicted that I will join politics one day.”

    Akhilesh credited Mishra with his political grooming. “I also learnt the art of oration from him. It was he who was with me when I filed my nomination papers from Kannauj Lok Sabha seat in 2000.” He added that it was a “great privilege” for him that he was elected thrice from Kannauj, once represented by Socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia. “Janeswar Mishra had flagged my first rath yatra a decade ago,” recalled Akhilesh.

    Akhilesh Yadav’s election campaign and zeal for an image makeover for the SP changed the profile of the party. Earlier identified with muscle power and `laathi’, SP is now known for modern ideas.

    Speaking about the size of his cabinet, which will be sworn in on Thursday, Akhilesh said, “The cabinet will be small where every effort will be made to give due representation to all regions and sections of society. For us it’s ‘party is over and bill is due’, like situation where we have to deliver to the people.”

    Virendra Nath Bhatt is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.
    [email protected]

    Editing by Karuna John

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    Posted on 14 March 2012



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