Nora Chopra

Akhilesh Yadav is prime ministerial material. Mentor to UP CM Ramgopal Yadav has made a statement to this effect recently. It has come as a shock to the Congress leadership.  At the time of the alliance, it was understood that Rahul would be the PM candidate for 2019 Lok Saba elections and Akhilesh would remain UP chief minister if the alliance wins the ongoing Assembly elections. But this statement has the effect of disturbing the SP-Congress understanding. Political observers feel this can be the beginning of the divide even before the blame game starts if the SP-Congress alliance does badly in the Assembly polls.


The Congress leadership, which has aligned with Akhilesh Yadav, may be in for a setback. In western UP, the Congress had won  eight  8 seats in 2012 all by itself. But this time when the Congress is in a alliance with the SP, Congress Legislative Party leader Pradeep  Mathur, who won last time from this part of the state with a good margin,  is said to be not comfortably placed. The party is not finding it easy to maintain the 2012 tally. In 2012, the Congress had won   eight seats just because the Congress then had struck an alliance with the Jat-dominated RLD. The SP Congress refusal to join hands with RLD is being seen as a blunder. There is even realisation in hindsight within the Congress leadership   that they had misjudged the  strength of RLD. Ajit singh has been able to establish that he is not a spent force.   Also, the Jats continue to remain with him. That’s why there is reason to believe that he RLD may do well this time.


The fight in Amethi has become more interesting with the BJP giving a ticket to the real Rani of Amethi or the first wife of Sanjay Singh – Graima.  With votes splitting between   Gayatri Prasad of the SP and Amita Singh, Garima is expected to have an edge.  Besides of course, this niece of VP Singh and the neglected wife of Sanjay Singh is also likely to get sympathy votes. In addition to this triangular fight in Amethi,   there is the case of ex-chairman of the UP Congress minority cell Maroof Khan, who  contesting the SP candidate Ravi Dass Mehrotra in Lucknow Central. It is said that the Muslim cadres of the SP are working for Maroof Khan. In Pratapgarh, Raja Bhaiyya of the SP is facing one Anup Pandey, a Brahmin candidate of the Congress. This Pandey has been put up by Pramod Tiwari in a deal with Raja Bhaiyya so that it makes the victory easy for Raja.        



The big battle has begun in UP. Desperate BJP leaders are sending their best generals to win the battle in this crucial state. The BJP which has been out of power for many years has lined up Narendra Modi and a surprise campaigner Babul Supriyo, a Lok Sabha member from Asansol in West Bengal and also a leading singer in Bollywood. Babool too is in a mood to oblige the rank and file as well as his bosses. He is now a darling of the BJP masses and frantic calls are being made to him for addressing meetings. He has proved himself a hit and recently at a meeting in Noida, the crowd was overwhelmed with his Hindi renderings. (IPA)

Sunday, 19 February, 2017