Litmus test for Yadav clan in Etawah
Ravi Krishna & Faiz Rehman Siddiqui, TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 05.03AM IST
ETAWAH/KANPUR: Etawah's one election which Yadav patriarch Mulayam
Singh Yadav could not afford to take lightly. Checkmated on his home
turf in the 2009 by-elections when his arch rival Mayawati wrested two
of the three assembly seats from the Samajwadi Party , the Yadav trio
of Mulayam, brother Shivpal and son Akhilesh are eager to salvage
their pride in 2012.
In the 2007 Assembly elections , the SP had won three of the four
constituencies in Etawah district: Etawah Sadar, Bharthana (where SP
chief Mulayam Singh Yadav contested and won) and Jaswantnagar. The
fourth, Lakhna, then a reserved constituency , was won by Mayawati's
Bahujan Samaj Party. Lakhna has now lost its existence after being
scrapped in the delimitation exercise.
Meanwhile, a lot of water has flown down the Yamuna. As the equation
stands drastically altered post-delimitation , Etawah goes to the
hustings in 2012 with only three seats, two of which, Etawah Sadar and
Mulayam's Bharthana (which fell vacant after he was elected to the Lok
Sabha) were wrested by the BSP in the 2009 by-polls . Only
Jaswantnagar, represented by Shivpal Singh Yadav, remains with the SP
as far as Etawah is concerned. Like elsewhere in the state, a strong
anti-incumbency wave is sweeping this rugged but picturesque land too
as the region has seen practically no development under the BSP rule.
"Even the four big projects worth over Rs 10 billion launched under
the SP rule are yet to see the light of the day," said Abhigyan
Shukla, a local businessman. Seconding his opinion, another
businessman , Radheyshyam Gupta, said that "though Maya fared well on
the law and order front, during Netaji's (Mulayam) rule, there was
development and stability. "
Perhaps the wily Yadav chieftain has sensed the mood. Both the SP
supremo and Akhilesh are now trying to re-connect emotionally with the
voters , particularly in the Etawah Sadar and Bharthana assembly
constituencies, to ensure a comeback in their hometown. During his
campaign tour in Etawah on Sunday, Mulayam began his speech on a very
emotional note at nearly a dozen-odd public meeting that he addressed.
"It's your responsibility not only to protect Etawah but make it
stronger as this is my 'karmabhoomi' that I represent in Parliament,
says our leader Mulayam Singh ji. Besides, he is also trying to convey
the message to the party that Akhilesh is the new leader of the SP and
the party is contesting the Assembly elections under his young
leadership," said Ishwar Shakya, an SP worker.
Apart from having failed to win a single Assembly seat, the two SP
strongholds of Bharthana and Etawah had also slipped out of the
party's grip in the 2009 by-polls . As both went in the BSP kitty,
political pundits had cited the SP debacle as desertion by Muslim
voters following SP chief's proximity with Kalyan Singh SP's efforts
to win back its citadel could be gauged from the fact that besides
wooing the Muslim voters, the SP is also trying to make inroads among
the Dalit vote bank.
"For the first time, Shivpal has been doing the rounds of
dalit-dominated areas in Jaswantnagar to seek their support . He does
not want the segment to alter his calculations as the Congress and the
BSP too are clamouring for the Dalit votes," said a local SP supporter
Rajesh Chauhan. Shivpal, meanwhile, is quite "elated" at the support
he is getting from the Dalit voters.
However, Shivpal's opponent and BSP candidate Manish Yadav sees this
change in strategy as an indication of the "panic" in the SP camp.
"This changed approach of Shivpal is an indication of the fact that he
has now understood that the Dalits have sensed a taste of empowerment
during the BSP rule. Dalits are not going to vote for any other
party," said Jaswantnagar BSP candidate Manish Yadav.
"My sole motive is to put an end to the dynastic rule of Mulayam Singh
Yadav, besides bring the area on development plank," said SP rebel
Manish Yadav while talking to TOI.
On Etawah Sadar seat, BSP's Mahendra Singh Rajput, SP's Raghuraj Singh
Shakya, BJP's Ashok Dubey and Congress party's Komal Singh Kushwaha
have been pitted against each other.
Similarly, from Bharthana (Reserved), BSP's Raghvendra Gautam, SP's
Sukhdevi Verma , BJP's Savitri Katheria, and Congress party's
Rajeshwari Jatav are in fray.
When the BSP candidates were asked what their party's main poll plank
was, sitting MLA Mahendra Singh Rajput, who had deserted SP in 2009
and is contesting the Etawah Sadar seat on BSP ticket, said it "is
development and wiping out SP's `goondaraj' in Mulayam's den" .
"Our efforts would definitely bear results and help me in retaining
the Etawah Sadar seat."
"The BSP government worked with the single-minded aim of developing
the state. The results of steps taken by us, especially in countering
SP, are already visible. We are asking for votes on the basis of our
performance," he added.
His claims are countered by SP candidate Raghuraj Shakya (Etawah
Sadar): "The BSP government didn't add a single development project to
the ones already started by Netaji. But once we would form government
in the state, all projects initiated during the SP regime will be
operationalized and the region will become developed as it was
earlier," he said. SP is not taking any chances in Etawah.
Keeping in mind the increased number of young electors , while
Akhilesh had been criss-crossing the state in his Kranti Rath alone,
he has roped in young Yadav brigade, comprising of his cousins and
nephews, for campaigning. The clan has brought its GenNext to hit the
campaign trail, further ensuring a smooth turf for them to play a
major role in the future politics . Tej Pratap Singh (grandson of
Mulayam), Aditya alias Ankur Yadav (son of Shivpal Singh Yadav),
Anshul Yadav (son of Mulayam's younger sibling Rajpal Singh Yadav) and
Akshaya Yadav (son of party spokesperson Prof Ram Gopal Yadav) are
latest from Mulayam's family to canvass in support of their party
candidates , making polls to the state assembly a wee bit interesting.
While Aditya is a BTech, Tej Pratap has a management degree from
abroad. Likewise, Anshul has secured a management degree from a
prominent institute of Noida.
Akshaya Yadav looks after his seeds business. They took up the task of
campaigning in absence of Mulayam Singh Yadav , Shivpal Singh Yadav
and Akhilesh, who were busy campaigning across the state.
SEEKING A NEW LEASE OF LIFE
Total voters 3,32,715
Female voters 1,49,293
Male voters 1,83,422
Total voters 3,59,098
Female voters 1,57,592
Male voters 2,15,006
Total voters 3,31,041
Female voters 1,45,282
Male voters 1,85,769
Kickstarting the stalled development in the region. Reviving the
1,200-odd cotton mills that have seen a rough patch since 1962
Boosting the local produce of potato and lehsun which are mainly
exported to Delhi and Gujarat
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