Mainpuri without Mulayam

Mainpuri without Mulayam

Less than three years ago, SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav withstood the Modi wave to register a massive victory in Mainpuri by defeating his BJP rival by over 3.6 lakh votes.

Mulayam also contested from the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat, which he later retained, but Mainpuri remained loyal and elected his grand-nephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav to the Lok Sabha in the bypoll.

But the times have changed so much that Mulayam has not addressed a single rally in any of the four Assembly seats in the district for the ongoing elections, nor is there a possibility as campaigning will end on Friday evening.

“There is no scheduled meeting of netaji (Mulayam) in the district,” said a local SP office bearer. 

One of the reasons behind the reluctance to invite Mulayam to address rallies in favour of SP nominees was his flip-flop on the issue of the alliance between the Congress and the SP.

“No one knows what netaji will say at the rallies... He may say something that will harm our prospects,” the SP leader added. The youth among the SP supporters are rooting for new party supremo and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The senior leaders, though sympathetic to Mulayam, consider Akhilesh to be his “natural heir”.

“After all, Akhilesh is his (Mulayam) son... he is his natural political heir... Netaji should not complain,” said septuagenarian Ram Autar Yadav, a resident of Karhal, close to Mulayam’s village of Saifai.

SP supporters said that Akhilesh never disrespected his father even when the family feud was at its peak a few months ago.

Akhilesh also realises that Mulayam commands respect in the region. “The party belongs to netaji... He made me the chief minister,” Akhilesh said at a rally in Karhal.

Even Akhilesh’s opponents concede that Mainpuri has got special attention in the last five years. The road that connects the district headquarters to Kannauj and Etah, which was full of potholes, has been relaid and widened. The Lucknow-Agra Expressway, too, passes through the district, making the journey to Delhi as well as Lucknow much easier.

Local BJP leaders said the SP is on a strong wicket, but neutral observers maintain that SP has an edge.

The party seems to be strong in Karhal and Kisni but, faces a tough fight in Bhogaon and Sadar constituencies.

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