The former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav is preparing to give Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a tough fight in 2022 assembly polls that will be held in the state.
Yadav is knitting alliances, keeping a strong verbal stance against his opponents and taking the cycle and his new vehicle, a rath, both, to campaigns. Wanting to return to power and working towards a redo of his party's 2012 performance, Yadav is keeping a combination of careful moves in his style to hurt the BJP.
He has appealed to his allies in a post on Twitter to observe the lighting of lamps in the memory of farmers killed in Lakhimpur in "Lakhimpur Kisan Smriti Divas". He says in his post that those who care for the farmers must do this in order to remind people of the "kroorta" -- the cruelty of the BJP.
Taking an indirect dig at the main opponent, he has posted a picture (on Twitter) of the crowds at his political rally in UP, saying "Kuch logon ko doorbeen ki nahin, ayine ki zaroorat hai (some people do not need binoculars, but a mirror)."
Here is how Yadav is preparing:
Taking charge of ticket distribution
Yadav is likely to not only keep a close watch on ticket distribution but take the vital exercise in his own hands. This report mentions him saying that district heads of the party will be consulted for arriving at the right candidates for the 2022 state assembly election.
The focus will be on selecting those candidates who are connected to the ground and the public and the tough ones. More importantly, he could be going for keen analysis of caste dynamics within the Vidhan Sabha constituencies for ticket distribution.
Next, he has urged workers of his party to shun groupism and support those who get tickets. Yadav has previously taken a dig at the BJP, his party's main opponent, saying that the party will not find even three to four ticket seekers for the polls.
Attacking BJP in Bundelkhand
BJP's focus on Bundelkhand has seen Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Adityanath dedicating big projects and programmes, giving an emotional response to the needs of the region, and addressing the farmers of the region amid the repealing of the controversial farm laws.
Yadav's Vijay Rath reached Bundelkhand. Along with it came his attack on the BJP. Yadav said that the poor had seen trouble never before as during the last four and a half years of BJP's rule. He attacked the BJP on the migrants' situation during the Covid related lockdown in 2020 and compared the situation to the condition that unfolded during the Partition.
He attacked the BJP on the plight of the farmers and hunger faced by people in the region. While the BJP is working hard on Bundelkhand, a patch of electoral importance in UP, it may have to keep an ear to the campaign against it.
Attacking BJP on queue culture
Yadav is picking pointed references on milestone moves or events in his attack on the BJP, reports reflected. There is reportedly a reference against the BJP for bringing "line" (queue) culture to UP. This report mentions Yadav saying that BJP compelled people of the state to stand in queues -- at banks, for manure, at hospitals.
Queues as pejorative is a crisp take from Yadav. He might be hinting at bringing a change by reflecting on a recent phenomenon of queueing up as a result of announcements and work culture brought by the BJP against the old normal in UP.
Bachelor And Sanyasi versus 'Family Man'
PM Modi and CM Adityanath have been vocal when it comes to criticising dynasty politics. Yadav has countered these attacks. "Only a family man can understand the 'pain of each member of the family'," Yadav has been reported as saying in one of his speeches.
PM Modi is a bachelor and Yogi Adityanath, a sanyasi. He said, “Politicians in power have always defamed me for dynastic politics but I just want to say this to all of you that only a family man can understand the pain of each and every member of the family.” Yadav has been quoted as saying during a rally in Lalitpur.
Yadav has been in the news for his indirect references on Adityanath. One of these is 'chillamjeevi'. Chillam is a clay pipe. Sections of voters in UP revere Adityanath as a sanyasi representing an important and revered matth (and a former MP).
"Chillamjeevi" seems a counter to the titles with "jeevi" suffix that PM Modi has offered in the past in reaction to political concepts and events that the opposition has thrown towards the centre. A bold take from BJP's opposition in terms of references and verbal attacks.
These two references segregate, in perception, a man who comes from a family of politicians and happens to be a family man, and his opponent/s who is/are standalone and sanyasi/bachelor.
Yadav has been aiming at making a "khoobsoorat guldasta" (beautiful bouquet) of alliances. He has stated that the united colours of "sab dal ke jhande" in "itnee rang birangee party" (the colourful alliance he has knit) is a strength that none else has.
The Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the Mahan Dal, the NCP, the Janvadi Socialist Party, Gondwana Gantantra Party are the allies of the Samajwadi Party. This report says that he has not offered a seat-sharing formula before anyone yet. It could be looking at contesting from more than 300 seats. This would leave a lot of work towards adjustments on the remaining seats.
While his alliances will help him expand his caste base, there is another strength in the wide spectrum that he is expected to find, especially in west UP. The RLD has reportedly ‘identified’ 32 Assembly seats it will contest in alliance with Yadav. The concentration of these seats is in west UP, where the RLD will want to further increase as this report points.
If the chemistry for the math works between the two parties, they would be looking at putting up a combined fight against the BJP in Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Saharanpur, Hathras, Amroha, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Moradabad, Mathura, Agra, and Shamli.
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