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Akhilesh delivers shock and awe to BJP in UP

By Sanjay Kumar Sinha
June 04, 2024 16:36 IST
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Akhilesh Yadav's stock rose dramatically on Tuesday with his Samajwadi Party cutting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party down to size in Uttar Pradesh.

IMAGE: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav during a public meeting in support of party candidate from Ballia constituency Sanatan Pandey for the Lok Sabha polls, in Ballia on May 26, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

As the trends came in, the SP was leading on 34 seats as against the BJP's 36 seats.

The tally is a spoiler for the BJP which had claimed it will sweep the state from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an MP.

From winning five seats in the last election in partnership with the Bahujan Samaj Party, Akhilesh's party in UP has dealt a bodyblow to the BJP, which had in 2019 won 62 seats on its own.


Born on July 1, 1973, Akhilesh led the opposition's campaign from the front in the key political state, pairing well with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Arvind Kejriwal's outfit.

This was the first general election after the death of SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Akhilesh did not disappoint, to the extent, it now leads on more seats than won in the 2004 election.

The turnaround for the opposition came even as Akhilesh, along with Rahul Gandhi, was disparaged as 'Do ladko ki jodi' often by Modi.

The acronym PDA -- Pichchde (backward classes), Dalits and Alpsankhyak (minorities) -- coined by Akhilesh appears to have worked for the party.

At the latest count, the SP was ahead of the BJP even on the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat, despite Ram temple in Ayodhya being a talking point for the saffron party throughout the run-up to the election.

TMC, another Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance bloc member, was given the Bhadohi Lok Sabha seat in UP.

Akhilesh in his speeches decried the ruling dispensation's jailing Arvind Kejriwal, as well as Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren, to highlights the BJP's putative highhandedness.

He praised Lalu Prasad and his son Tejaswi Yadav, who were charge in of holding the alliance's fort in Bihar.

In the fray from Kannauj Lok Sabha seat, Akhilesh took it upon him to drum up support for his wife Dimple Yadav, and three cousins, who all are in the fray.

Earlier in the campaign, Akhilesh forced the BJP to recalibrate its narrative, somewhat even sending it on a backfoot, when he retorted to the ruling party's jibe of nepotism, saying those with no family had no right to call out others.

The rebuttal sent entire BJP brass, as well as grassroots workers, to append 'Modi ka Parivaar' in their social media bios.

The party's performance also indicates a strong support from the state's Muslim population, a substantial chunk of the total.

Ahead of the election, Akhilesh forged a rapprochement with uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, who helped the party reach out to its traditional voters, most of them from the Yadav caste, spread over in the eastern and central parts of the state.

A break from its former partner Bahujan Samaj Party did no harm to the SP, which called it 'B-team' of the BJP.

The SP had given 18 seats to Congress, one to TMC, and had fielded its own candidates in the rest of the total 80 constituencies.

Born in the Yadavs native village of Saifai in Etawah district, Akhilesh Yadav studied at the Dholpur Military School in Rajasthan.

He got his Bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from Mysore University and followed it up by doing Masters from Sydney.

In 2000, he was elected to the Lok Sabha in a bye-election from Kannauj. He won again in 2004 and 2009.

As Uttar Pradesh chief minister, in a departure from the party's earlier stance aghast computers, he launched the 'biggest laptop distribution' scheme for students.

His government also took credit for launching development projects like the Agra-Lucknow expressway, metro project, international stadium and cancer hospital in Lucknow.

Akhilesh Yadav and Dimple Yadav have three children.

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Sanjay Kumar Sinha
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.