A red Mercedes bus of 10 wheels with a big photograph of the chief minister riding a bicycle, and with all the gizmo sets for a high profile but yet a socialist campaign. Such was the view of 5 kalidas Marg on Tuesday when Akhilesh unveiled his campaign chariot in front of the media.
This red bus is named as “Samajwadee Vikas Rath” and it comprises of a hydraulic lift that will allow Akhilesh Yadav to be raised and address crowds during road shows and rallies from the bus. The bus also has a CCTV camera and some top class acoustic facilities including LCD television sets, sofas, and a bed along with a loudspeaker which will keep playing a campaign song about development. The back portion of the bus comprises of two photographs of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and surprisingly there is no Shivpal or Amar Singh on any of the pictures.
Major schemes launched by the Akhilesh Yadav government are highlighted on the sides of the bus in a bright red colour. The most prominent of all is the Lucknow Metro, Government Ambulance Service and the women helpline service etc. The top line of the bus is patched with a message which says “Vikas se Vijay ki or”(To victory through development). This Yatra will start on Thursday but Akhilesh will however attend the silver jubilee functions on 5th November. This yatra will pass through Unnao, en-route to Kanpur.
Along with this bus, a cavalcade of over 5,000 SUVs and trucks will seek to send a message to the party leadership about Akhilesh being the “most acceptable” face of SP.
On heels of Congress- Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had recently completed a six-week tour of UP, traveling in SUVs or sometimes in a bus in his month long Deoria to Dekhi “Kisan Yatra”. Similarly the pro CM camp including those young leaders who were expelled by Shivpal yadav had been working overtime in order to make this a bigger political show as compared to Congress. An ardent CM supporter and a cabinet minister close to him told WFN on conditions of anonymity-” We had burned our sweat and blood for countless nights in order to make sure that campaign is on time and in accordance, it’s high time netaji and other should know that Akhilesh ji is the only face of the party.”
The state capital is already splashed with colourful posters, banners and hoardings of Akhilesh and his bright red Rath but Shivpal is nowhere in the campaign. Akhilesh also addressed his supporters who had gathered at his residence on Diwali eve to greet him and said- “Without wasting any time , we all should start our campaign and we should reach out to the people in all corners of the state with the achievements of our government over the past four and a half years.”
The war is not over yet-
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has not completely embraced the terms of compromise negotiated between him and his uncle Shivpal Yadav. Despite the negotiations were brokered by SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav but it seems Akhilesh had not accepted all the terms and conditions suggested by his father.
In his recent road trip to Saifai after making a ground reality check on the Lucknow Agra expressway, Akhilesh called up his uncle Ramgopal Yadav who was recently expelled from the party for being in-hand glove of arch rival BJP. This meeting ended up as an hour long discussion and Ramgopal’s nephew Arvind Yadav and bother Rajgopal were also present in this meeting. Arvind is a MLC and was expelled recently for making derogatory remarks against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Akhilesh, who has been left miffed with the power tussle between him and his uncles over the last two months, is not in any mood to create another bad patch for the party. But his recent meeting with Ramgopal and his separate campaign announcement had made his plans clear.
Akhilesh has not reinstated sacked ministers till now, including Shivpal, niether he had softened his stand on party General Secretary Amar Singh, whom he had blamed for the raging feud, nor is he mellowing to detractors for a compromise. The young CM is having support of all the youth leaders who were sacked from frontal organizations of the party and this election campaign via Rathyatra is another step to re-organize his core supporters. Akhilesh is also not using the party headquarters for his campaign and is operating from the Lohia Trust office for organizational affairs.
Although SP is facing its worst crisis these days especially at such times when the party is preparing to celebrate the silver jubilee foundation day in Lucknow on November 5th. But the conflict nonetheless has presented an opportunity to Akhilesh to assert his authority within and outside the party and the Rathyatra seems to be another step forward for the same.