Akhilesh's main challenge is to rein in party 'toughs'

Akhilesh's main challenge is to rein in party 'toughs'

Reining in the “toughs” within the party may not be that easy for Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister-designate of UP.  An attempt to tame them as he has categorically said he will, may pose challenge of a different kind.

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There might be resentment within the rank and file of the SP leaders and workers at the districts if the new regime gives the police a free hand to crack down on them to check violent attacks on political rivals, especially the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Samajwadi Party workers and leaders, who had been at the “receiving end” throughout the past five years during the BSP regime and were “subjected” to harassment by the police on the instruction of BSP leaders, may not easily “digest” the “lessons in non-violence” by their leaders now when their own government was going to be in place. “We have suffered a lot during the BSP government. Many of our leaders and workers were lodged in jails on trumped up charges. It is easy to say that we should forget them,” said a SP worker.

“SC/ST Act was freely used by the police to prosecute SP workers in cases of clashes involving Dalits. Even the police used excessive force on the party workers during their protest demonstrations,” he said.

In 2009, senior SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav was slapped by a police constable during a demonstration, while two years later Lucknow DIG D K Thakur was filmed hitting a SP worker with his boots.

Senior leaders of the SP are also to be blamed for such a situation. All through their campaign and also before it, these leaders, including party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, assured party men that those responsible for attacks would be taken to task when the party returned to power.

The violent attacks by SP workers on their rivals across the state almost immediately after the counting of votes was complete only indicated that the worst was still to come.

Three people have been killed and several others injured while many houses have been torched alleged by SP workers in a series of attacks in different parts of the state in the past few days. A case of murder has been registered against newly elected SP legislator from Bah in Agra Aridaman Singh in connection with the killing of a BSP worker.

The party, concerned over the escalating violence, has warned the party workers against indulging in attacks on their rivals. It has also barred them from fixing party flags on their vehicles and unauthorised beacon lights. How far this goes in reining in the party workers will be known only in the next few weeks.

No talks on PM offer: Mulayam

New Delhi, PTI:

Amidst speculation that he may be a prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose Samajwadi Party stormed to power in UP, said on Sunday that no one has approached him. “No. No one has approached me with the offer of being prime ministerial candidate,” he told reporters here. The SP supremo was also non-commital on the prospects of re-alignment of non-Congress, non-BJP parties to forge the Third front. “I read about it in the newspapers about the Third Front. When there will be talk, we’ll see...I don’t know about it. You have asked me about it and I have read in newspapers,” he told mediapersons here.