The signs are a dead giveaway. A hurriedly called in meeting at the Samajwadi Party office on Friday by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to gauge the sentiments of the office bearers and party workers, a drooping body language and an abrupt decision not to contest in the upcoming Assembly polls – all these speak volumes of the fast-changing political dynamics in the state.
Addressing the office bearers and party workers Akhilesh said, “Some TV channels are running that I will contest from Sarojini Nagar in Lucknow. This is a plant by Sharda Pratap Shukla. I am not contesting from anywhere. I am an MLC till 2018 and I will campaign for all.”
Last month, Akhilesh had expressed his desire to contest from Bundelkhand, saying that the people of the area wanted better representation, and as such he was contemplating possible contest from Bundelkhand.
|Akhilesh may have aligned with Congress, but till date no collective campaign has been planned.|
Insiders indicate that seats like Babina and Charkhari were analysed and ground reports for the same were collected. Apparently, the thin presence of the Samajwadi Party in the area proved to be a potent factor in dissuading Akhilesh from contesting from the legislative Assembly constituency.
Another seat that was examined for Akhilesh was Sarojini Nagar in Lucknow, since the seat had both urban and rural pockets and a sizeable Yadav vote bank. Possibly, the prospects looked dim even from the Sarojini Nagar seat for Akhilesh to contest, so he decided to not give it a go.
Earlier, it was being argued that since Bundelkhand is far off, a seat near Lucknow would be best suited for Akhilesh. Now the speculations of him contesting even from Sarojini Nagar have been put to rest. Instead, Akhilesh wants to focus his time and attention on campaigning for other candidates.
At the meeting, a seemingly not-so-confident Akhilesh exhorted the party workers to go full throttle and ensure the party comes back to power. He said, "If you don't work hard now, you may have to keep struggling for five years".
At the important meet, he also sermonised the office bearers not to raise the issue of rural electrification and providing uninterrupted power supply. "We will not be able to fulfill the commitment, so do not talk of electrification and power supply,” he said.
Akhilesh Yadav knows that the battle for UP is crucial and it has now become a triangular contest with the BSP going the whole hog to bag the minority vote.
Akhilesh may have aligned with the Congress, but till date no collective campaign has been planned, and the leaders of the two parties have so far refrained from joint public appearances.
The going is tough and possibly by not contesting himself, Akhilesh is sending out the same message.