When the state of UP last went to polls in 2012, a rather new to politics Akhilesh Yadav did statewide Cycle Yatra with a digital vision (Promising free laptops that resonated the most). It resulted in SP winning a thumping majority. Mulayam Singh Yadav prefered Akhilesh to lead the state over himself or anyone else.

Overtly speaking and analysing – the reasons for MSY doing so were two. First – being rewarding Akhilesh for his labour and popularity. Second – a father passing on the baton to his son. (That’s how dynasties work , dont they?). But if you have a brain that was trained in observing polity in the cow belt, you can easily assess that there was a third (covert) reason to it as well, the most important one.

Back than MSY was going through a cocktail of Next is what? + Third Front has a real shot at it and can come to power in centre (Obviously not able to foresee the tsunami that NaMo and his wave would eventually become). MSY was nursing a Race Course Road dream and a state even of UP’s size where he had thrice been a CM, was a small entity in comparison to devote time to.

Then 2014 happened. An election that changed everything for UP, The Yadav Kunba & Akhilesh Yadav in Particular. Akhilesh’s stint as CM is clearly divided in two distinctly different halves . Pre 2014 & Post 2014.

In Pre 2014 era Corruption, Lawlessness & Administrative Paralysis were its hallmarks and the public perception in UP was that the state has 4 CMs – MSY, Shivpal, Azam and Akhilesh. Going by that even if BSP and Congress too weren’t humiliated in UP polls, Akhilesh would had been just 25% responsible for the disgrace of managing to win just 5 of 80+ seats but to his destiny and favour he was never held responsible . वेव आई सब बहे सिर्फ हमीं थोड़ी ? Saved the day for him.

There can be no denial of the fact that Akhilesh shifted gears post 16th May 2014 and entered a phase of transformation. While not much changed on the governance front in UP on the personal image and narrative side, he did realise and accept the value of three things. One the need to dissociate himself from the infamously corrupt and excess baggage kunba. Two we have entered the era of development politics and there is no going back. Three the power of a DSLR Camera & cultivated posturing.

If you have been following his journey as closely as the writer you would reach the same conclusion that within just 2.5 years or so Akhilesh has been able to win on two fronts : Creating an Image of being Development Oriented CM andFamily to him means Dimple bhabhi & kids – not the kunba.

Now lets rationally see where we stand today 2 months before the state goes to polls again on the grounds of perception . Akhilesh is at war with people who have held back till now. He is inspite and despite of everything a disciplined son or trying to save his father on grounds of जैसे भी हैं पिताजी हैं.

What makes the game a clash of ambitions between Father and Son interesting is that both are using Amar Singh and Shivpal Yadav as fronts in the battle respectively. (Something that Akhilesh in all probabilities have learnt from MSY himself) .

While MSY himself is propelled by vested interests who have issues with Akhilesh inheriting his political legacy (readers here are requested to refresh the image of a blue lamborghini) still nurses the Lokkalyaad Marg dream. शेरवानी सिलवा ली थी तो प्रधानमंत्री बनने के एम्बिशन का त्याग कैसे करें भाई? टफ टाइम है पर निकल जाएगा , पहले भी निकला है , Akhilesh has now entered the phase of next is what ?

He understands that 2019 in all chances has already gone to BJP . They are not atleast publicly looking beyond modi and preparing the next gen in public sphere . Rahul is a laughing stock, his wafadaars can not see beyond him. Kejriwal is a disgrace. Jaya is no more. Lalu is someone out on bail. Mamta can need bail anyday. Nitish kumar has already folded . That leaves with literally no one else on table to occupy the Anti BJP space in long shot and he can have the first mover advantage.

Akhilesh isn’t at war with Shivpal or for control of SP in UP ( he has that since 2012) . He at war with mulayam to let him build on a ground that ‘धरतीपुत्र’ still has eyes on. To him Now is the best time for many reasons.

With totally capturing the public space, he has fauled preparations of all other parties in fray, while himself being in command of a possible coalition with congress and thus his chances of comeback. Now, If he wins,he can create his own UP model that moves centre of left to centre of right at his convenience minus the memory of a first term. If he loses, ऐसा भी कौन जादू की छड़ी लाएगा जो UP 2019 तक सुधार देगा? .He would move above just 5 seats in LS and win media & “establishment” to back him till 2023 and also get past a not so memorable term in public eye.

Its a win win situation for him in both the circumstances and the time to take the next step, execute the plan is NOW.

By – Panchdeo Pandey (@ruppanbabu)

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