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Akhilesh Yadav: Gathbandhan fails, SP chief gets marks for trying

In 2017, Akhilesh Yadav had unsuccessfully sought five more years for his government in Uttar Pradesh.

PTI|
May 23, 2019, 05.31 PM IST
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Akhilesh Yadav had tried his hand at coalition building in Uttar Pradesh in the 2017 assembly elections as well, teaming up with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
LUCKNOW: Akhilesh Yadav's “gathbandhan” with BSP chief Mayawati for the Lok Sabha elections might have not got the desired result in Uttar Pradesh with the BJP sweeping the state.

But the Samajwadi Party president gets full marks for trying.

While forging the SP-BSP alliance in the state to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party, Yadav put ego aside, happily playing the ‘bhatija” (nephew) to Mayawati “bua” (aunt).

His wife Dimple helped when she touched the elder politician's feet at a public meeting.

When reporters asked whether he would back Bahujan Samaj Party's Mayawati as a prime ministerial candidate, Yadav gave sufficiently vague answers to suggest that the option was open.

And to accommodate another ally, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, he gave up one seat from the SP quota.

All this seemed like a small price to pay for keeping the BJP at bay – and for ending a bitter feud between the SP and the BSP from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav's days as party chief.

This fight dated back to 1995, when the BSP leader was roughed up by SP workers at a Lucknow guest house.

Akhilesh Yadav had tried his hand at coalition building in Uttar Pradesh in the 2017 assembly elections as well, teaming up with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Some fondly called the two relatively young scions “UP ke ladke” (the UP boys) when they appeared in public wearing matching black waistcoats.

It didn't work out that time either with Yogi Adityanath, backed by Narendra Modi as PM, winning a majority in the assembly.

In 2017, Akhilesh Yadav had unsuccessfully sought five more years for his government in Uttar Pradesh.

In 2012, after a stint as the head of the SP's youth wing and then the party's UP president, he was picked by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav to become the state's youngest ever CM at 38.

In the early years of his term as SP unit chief and the CM, he struggled with his father's legacy – tackling politicians like D P Yadav, Amar Singh and Azam Khan.

His uncle Shivpal Yadav brought in mafia don Mukhtar Ansari's Quami Ekta Dal into the SP, against his will.

Another uncle Ram Gopal Yadav backed him as Akhilesh Yadav tackled dissension in the party and the Yadav clan.

Just ahead of the 2017 assembly polls, Akhilesh Yadav staged a coup of sorts.

At an emergency convention of the party in January 2017, SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav was ousted as national president, relegated to the post of its “patron”.

Later, the BJP was to call him Aurangzeb, recalling what one Mughal emperor did to his own father.

After the “coup”, the two SP factions went to the Election Commission, which ruled in Akhilesh Yadav's favour, giving his group the bicycle symbol.

Born on July 1, 1973 in Etawah district's Saifai village, Akhilesh Yadav studied at the Dholpur Military School in Rajasthan. He got his bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from Mysore University. This was followed by a master's from Sydney.

In 2000, he was elected to the Lok Sabha in a bye-election from Kannauj. He won again, in 2004 and 2009.

As chief minister, he trashed his party's declared opposition towards computers, announcing what is sometimes claimed to be the world's biggest laptop distribution scheme for students.

His government also took credit for launching development projects like the Agra-Lucknow expressway, the Lucknow metro, and an international stadium in the state capital.

Akhilesh Yadav and Dimple Yadav have three children Aditi, Arjun and Tina.

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