Twenty months after he had pushed his son Akhilesh Yadav to the forefront of politics and crowned him as the youngest chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav is trying to once again project himself as the poster boy of his party.
In this case, literally so.
SP’s latest poster highlights Mulayam as the party’s brand ambassador -- describing him as 'man se mulayam; irade hain loha' (‘he is soft-hearted but firm about his resolutions’).
Unlike past posters, in which the father and the son would figure alongside each other, this one shows Mulayam all by himself.
While the giant poster has been put up at prominent sites in Lucknow, instructions have been reportedly issued to put up this particular hoarding all across the state.
The poster is meant to send a message to all those who had given up on Akhilesh, as he had failed miserably to live up to their expectations, after winning the state polls with much fanfare.
The poster targets workers of the Samajwadi Party as well as those who had gone all out to support the young man in the hope that he would herald a new era both within the party and in the state.
The Samajwadi Party had swept the 2012 assembly elections as many residents of UP, who were not traditional supporters of the party, had decided to give it a shot. They were taken in by a youthful Akhilesh who displayed promise and determination.
The turning point for them had come when Akhilesh single-handedly managed to thwart the entry of mafia-don-turned-politician D P Yadav into the party.
The young leader had begun his stint as the CM by fulfilling various poll promises including the distribution of laptops, releasing unemployment dole and providing scholarships to girls.
But the initial grit shown by Akhilesh started fading and his political graph kept sliding as the months went by.
For some time, the young CM was seen as a victim of “too many uncles” and an overbearing father who were trying to run the state by proxy.
But soon Akhilesh’s own inadequacies started coming to the fore.
He was not so prompt while taking on hard tasks which included, among others, scrapping the ridiculous initiatives taken by his predecessor Mayawati.
He didn’t keep his oft-repeated election resolve to convert the Bahujan Samaj Party’s parks and monuments -- worth Rs 5000 crore of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money -- into hospitals or educational institutions.
He did not take any steps to expose the large-scale corruption rampant in Mayawati’s regime.
Akhilesh also made himself inaccessible to the common man after initially throwing open the doors of the chief minister’s official residence to them.
He soon began to be seen as an indifferent and weak leader.
When his father saw the political writing on the wall, he lost no time in initiating damage control measures.
The first of these measures is, apparently, the return of Mulayam as the new poster boy of the Samajwadi Party.
Image Courtesy: http://www.samajwadiparty.in/