With Mercedes Rath, Hydraulic Lift, Akhilesh Yadav Tour Starts Tomorrow

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November 2, 2016

Lucknow: When Akhilesh Yadav launches his bid for a second term as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh tomorrow, the posse with all-access to him will be headed by Sunil Singh Sajan.

November 2, 2016

Lucknow: When Akhilesh Yadav launches his bid for a second term as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh tomorrow, the posse with all-access to him will be headed by Sunil Singh Sajan.

Samajwadi Party members prepare a model of a cycle, the party symbol, ahead of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s Rath Yatra, in Meerut on Wednesday. (PTI)

The 34-year-old who is  Akhilesh's go-to guy for his Vikas Yatra (state-wide tour), is, however, no longer a member of the Samajwadi Party; he was expelled late last month along with other young supporters of the Chief Minister.

It is totemic of the Samajwadi Party's current status that Akhilesh, 43, will be surrounded on tour by nearly 7 big leaders, all banned by his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is also president of Uttar Pradesh's ruling party.

After months of brushing off talk of a sharpening family feud, late last month, all members of the Yadav family expounded publicly and aggressively on their differences at a party meeting in Lucknow. Mulayam Singh watched as his confidante and brother, Shivpal Yadav, grabbed the mic from Akhilesh and branded him "a liar." Akhilesh supporters later staged a large protest at the party office.

Many of them were expelled for indiscipline by Shivpal Yadav. These people were expelled a few days that contentious meeting. There had been other protests outside the party allegedly led by these leaders where anti-Mulayam/Shivpal and pro-Akhilesh slogans were raised.

Akhilesh has since indicated that even if he is removed as Chief Ministerial candidate, he will campaign for his father aka  "Neta-ji".  Mulayam Singh has returned the favour less generously, by confirming that while Akhilesh will be allowed to complete his current term, whether he returns as Chief Minister if the party is re-elected will be decided later.

On the first day of his tour tomorrow, Akhilesh is scheduled to travel 75 kms in Lucknow and neighboring Unnao. Though there are plans for him to stop every 2 kilometres to interact with people, he is likely to do so from a distance – on a hydraulic lift atop his Mercedes "rath".

His father is not expected for the launch of the tour at Akhilesh's home tomorrow.  – no father is expected, uncle may not turn up.

Mr Sajan is busy at his home with preparations for Akhilesh's tour, is surrounded by other volunteers, most of whom have also been expelled from the Samajwadi Party. "There is no irony (in this)," he says, "socialism is in our veins whether we remain in the party or not. What is important is that we are with Akhilesh."

Material evidence is offered in the red T-shirts that Mr Singh and the others are wearing, which have Akhilesh's photograph on them. Caps have the party symbol of the cycle.

The last time Akhilesh asked for a shot as Chief Minister, he was 36.  His campaign promised the youth of one of India's most backward states quality education, free laptops. This time around as well, his team is hoping to retain young voters on their side.

Harsh Vashisht, 19, and Anil Yadav, 25, are enrolled at the Lucknow University and say 20,000 other students will help campaign for the Chief Minister.

The t-shirts are not optional. "We will wear these dresses and  our job will be to ensure that crowds flock to every venue the Chief Minister visits . We will also coordinate with the media," said Anil Yadav. "I am not bothered. For me, it is all about Akhilesh," said Harsha when asked about whether the Yadavs' personal relations nightmare is eroding their party's credibility.


Courtesy: NDTV