Omair Anas for BeyondHeadlines
UP politics has once again proved that it is still unpredictable thanks to its multi-level complexities.This time, it is AkhileshSingh Yadav who is the man behind Samajwadi Party’s unexpected and phenomenal victory since the party has been established in 1992. First time in its history, Samajwadi Party has gained 224 seats with enough margin from simple majority of 202 and has been given a clear mandate for entire five year term to implement party manifesto and promises SP made during its campaign. The UP Chessboard has seen most decisive victory for any party after SP has emerged as winner of situation.It is said that Mulayam Singh Yadav has rectified his many of political mistakes and AkhileshYadav had personally reengineered party’s support base which has brought this victory.Instability is now history in India’s largest state. The little discussed question in this fray is who actually has lost? Is it Congress’ much talked about future PM candidate Rahul Gandhi, or Mayawati’s Dalit card or BJP’s increasingly unpopular Hindutvapolitics?This is why UP election results have assumed national importance and will impact discourse of national politics in coming days particularly it will challenge Congress’ slogan of AamAdmikeSath and BJP’s hard struggle to balance Hindutva and development.
There can be seen three main loosing sides in this election.First and foremost looser is Mayawati’s autocratic politics which has become biggest enemy of BSP’s own ideology of social justice and was hurdle for its delivery to Dalits, weaker sections from minorities, and Brahimns, the main constituents of Sarva JanSukhaySarva Jan Hitay slogan. It is too early to say that it is BSP’s ideological defeat. It is well recognized that Despite many good schemes particularly Kanshiram Shari GaribAvasYojna, she could not sense national mood against corruption and Mafia Raj and greater say for youths in each decision making forums. It was too late for her to sack her tainted ministers who were accused, charged, arrested, or convicted for rang of crimes including intimidation, extortion and arbitrary use of state and central funds. Mayawati is victim of her own mismanagement and autocratic work style. Mulayam Singh too was dismissed by UP people because of the same reasons in 2007 when his brother ShivpalYadav was de-facto Chief Minister of the state and has tried to throttle democracy within party. Akhileshis the man who heeded to all mistakes and has overhauled party’s image from a Mafia party to party of some values. Should Mayawati realize her mistakes, UP has still relevance with her ideological struggle.
Unlike Mayawati, BJP’s main problems are from its ideological crisis in which it failed to balance between Hindutva and development. BJP couldn’t yet overcome post Babri Masjid crises. Without Hindutva, BJP is nothing but anunattractive copy of Congress. During their rules at centre, BJP and Congress have been perceived as party with strong corporate backing, urban political and social outlook and carry tag of upper caste parties.BJP’s support base is gradually depleting and has shifted to SP and BSP which are no more anti upper caste parties. Congress’ main problem is its inability to differentiate between glamour of Ghandhi family and political leadership. Congress poster boy Rahul Gandhi is still far from being an artful politician.His glamour has attracted thousands of rural people to come to see same as they come to see Bollywood actors. This assembly result shows that Bhayyaji image of AkhileshSingh Yadav has defeated the Prince image of Rahul Gandhi.Mulayam Singh is Dharti Putra (Son of Soil) and Akhilesh has understood what it means for UP and that is why he never sold his foreign educated image and remained largely a DesiNeta. Despite many warnings of political experts, Congress became a party for prince, not for people. With his omnipresent identity, no organizational leadership could emerge in Uttar Pradesh. In the final game, Bhaiyyajihas defeated the prince.
Caste, crime and cash are still core values of UP politics and winner candidates of Samajwadi Party have many liabilities to their constituencies in terms of contract awards and influence in state machinery to get their pending works done easily. Akhilesh Singh Yadav has to deal with the challenges carefully and have to work hard to fulfill electoral promises and ensuring law and order. It also appears that UP voters are now convinced for change in each five years rather than allowing weak and unstable governments.If this is the future, AkhileshYadav has just one term to prove it to secure his long term role in Uttar Pradesh because the game will continue and many difficult stages are waiting for SP.
(OMAIR ANAS is PhD scholar at School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect BH’s editorial policy.