THE drama in the Samajwadi Party was so intriguing that poll politicking took a back seat in the front-line state of Uttar Pradesh.
Now, With the Election Commission poking a ‘spoke’ in Mulayam’s prospects by flagging off Akilesh’s CYCLE rally , real time electioneering will begin in right earnest.
If there is someone happier than Akilesh and his Mama ( Shakuni Mama for the Mulayam camp ) it’s the Congress and it’s uncrowned supremo Rahul Gandhi.
UP is critical to Congress, they verywell realise that another rout will nudge the already tottering party over the precipice. Not just that, Rahul’s image will take a battering that no amount of tinkering, by the likes of Prashant Kishor, can help salvage .
The prospect of riding pillion with Akhilesh is a shot in the arm for Congress. If Akhilesh is able to stitch together a ‘Mahaghatbandan‘ , which in all probability he can with the help of RJD , RLD and the LEFT Front, then Congress can surely hope for a face-saver piggy backing on Akhilesh’s goodwill.
Keenly watching Akhilesh’s every move is the Muslim community. A community that’s wary of MODI and would do everything possible to prevent BJP from coming to power in UP. Akhilesh realises this, the pressure is on him to quickly sew together a grand alliance and give the Muslims and Yadavs , his core vote base, the impression that he is a bankable candidate.
Mayawati has silently stolen a march over her rivals, she seems to have developed a new found love for the Muslim community and has made her intentions clear with her liberal seat distribution to the community stealing a lead over the infighting Samajwadi Party.
Triangular contest is now a foregone conclusion. BJP has a edge, their election machinery has had a early start. Modi’s ‘Parivartan’ rallies have all received massive support. Reverse polarisation, that saw Hindus vote en-bloc in favour of BJP during the general elections will be repackaged and redeployed. Mandir politics will be back.
Questions are many – answers few , only on March 11th will the voice of the people be heard until then we can do nothing much but listen to the ‘Bhashan’ of the Netas, the blaring of the loudspeakers, the rallies , the roadshows , the manifestos, the sops , the endless psephology and media blabber. Until then ponder over the following :
▶ Has Tipu emerged stronger from Pari-War ? Can he be a Sultan once again or at least a kingmaker in a hung outcome. Will the powerful Shivpal take things laying down ? Has Amar saved his last ‘googly’ for the elections ?
▶ Has the Money-for-ticket taint sullied Maya’s image ? Are the young Dalits still enamoured by her ? Will the Muslims switch to ‘BSP’ or will they remain with SP’ .
▶ Has DeMonetisation diminished MODI’s popularity? Will the people of UP give him another chance to relive his 2014 moments ? Can the resonance of ‘Development’ still be heard ? Are the youth, cutting across caste lines, still with MODI ?
▶ With both Maya and Akhilesh wooing the minorities, and with Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM making inroads, is a three way split in the Muslim ranks a possibility ? Is it going to benefit the BJP ?
▶ Is the Union Budget a Trump card that can swing the election decisively – is MODI going to play ‘Santa Claus’ to the people of UP, doling out sops and goodies ?
Picture Credit: India TV