EC nod to Akhilesh: Baton passes in SP

In reality the SP had split between Mr Yadav and his CM son, but not in two roughly equal halves, or down the middle.

Taking an earlier ruling of the Supreme Court into account, the Election Commission has acted firmly, and with despatch, in allotting the “bicycle” symbol to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, overlooking the claim of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, the stalwart politician of northern India and founder of the Samajwadi Party, who has fought and won many a famous political battle in his life. It is noteworthy that the EC did not take the easy way out by freezing the poll symbol, which became an issue of contest between the father and the son, making the rival claims the “father” of poll-related disputes in the annals of the EC. This would have been easy enough to do, given that the verdict came on Monday, just a day before filing of nominations was to begin in UP for the coming state polls.

In reality the SP had split between Mr Yadav and his CM son, but not in two roughly equal halves, or down the middle. It was more like 90 per cent being with the son. This was easy enough to see even for the lay observer. Seen in that light, the SP virtually remains one party even now; only the baton has passed to the younger Mr Yadav. In terms of the ensuing politics, this is of considerable significance. It is now highly probable that the traditional Muslim-Yadav vote in the hinterlands of UP, which is a high percentage of the total, will not split in any major way, specially since it is considered likely that the CM’s camp looks keen to sew up a seats-sharing deal with the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal of Ajit Singh, which enjoys a modicum of support in UP’s western districts, among the influential Jat voters of the region.

Also, given India’s demographics, which leans toward the youth, the likely combination of Akhilesh-Rahul Gandhi-Jayant Singh, the RLD leader’s son, is posited to be a draw for younger voters, cutting across caste and other traditional community-based calculations. In three months of trench warfare between the Mulayam and Akhilesh camps, the son has been respectful of his father all through. This has been much appreciated in UP’s traditional cultural milieu. The father has hardly shown any solicitude toward the son, though. This could cost Mulayam, who after the EC verdict threatened to fight his son in the election if his son wasn’t mindful of Muslim sensitivities. If the elder Yadav can shed his impetuosity, and display that he can rise above personal feelings and show that he understands that historical change has already occurred, regardless of whether Akhilesh wins or loses the election, the sturdy political legacy of Mulayam Singh can still be preserved.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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