By K.N. Pandita
UP poll results that returned Samajwadi Party with thumping victory carry more significance than what meets the eye. This state has always been crucial to the political history of independent India essentially because of its population. Despite slicing a chunk of its territory and creating the new State of Uttarakhand, the importance of UP continues. It sends maximum number of elected members to the Parliament which decides the fate of political parities contesting power at the centre.
That the recent elections would bring about a big change in power structure in UP was a foregone conclusion. Downslide of Mayawati’s BSP was rather probable owing to growing lawlessness during her period and the urge of the leader for personality cult.
Veteran UP politician Mulayem Singh Yadav is the one leader who can feel the pulse of the electorate. An old time player, he knows which side of his toast is buttered. Fortunately for him, in his son Akhilesh, he has found the young man who can deliver in his state. As such, with veteran leader’s experience and guidance and with the youthful leaders drive and direct reach to the people in place, the party was able to turn the table and emerge as the victorious party perhaps much beyond its expectations.
The veteran leader has surrendered the chief minister-ship to his youthful son. This is not out of paternal emotions or just to grab the opportunity to project his son for beginning a big political career. It appears a very calculated move with eye on parliamentary elections scheduled for 2014. Nevertheless it is a remarkable event in the history of Indian politics.
Akhilesh has so far shown that he can be a man of parts. He has the great and necessary skill of developing mass contact and selling his plans and programmes to the electorate. He speaks the language of the people precisely as his father used to. Commentators say that his success as chief minster of India’s most populous state depends on his ability to fulfill the commitments made in party’s manifesto.
Akhilesh has no escape route. Normally once the election clap-trap is over, the successful candidate after being catapulted into the seat of power assumes lackadaisical attitude towards the promises made in the election manifesto.
Akhilesh has said that the first thing he would like to address is eradicating lawlessness from the state. Mayawati regime could not control lawlessness despite the fact that she removed some of the ministers at the fag end of her tenure and also transferred a couple of civil and police functionaries. But these were only half hearted attempts. There were widespread allegations against her that she was shielding some of the criminals close to her. Whatever be the case, lawlessness had become rampant in UP.
The task of curbing lawlessness is not that easy as Akhilesh thinks. Powerful mafias have come up. We have recently heard about the mining mafia in Madhya Pradesh and the tragic crushing to death of a police officer. Therefore Akhilesh should be prepared for a big resistance from the mafia of various hues in his State. If he can curb them and restore law and order in the state, it would be an achievement. We don’t mean to say that he is not capable of achieving that. We only say that sustained will to deliver is the primary question.
It was a stroke of excellent statesmanship on the part of Akhilesh Yadav to say that his government would not work with vengeance towards any party. People will watch this closely. Usually, a new incumbent government doest not hesitate to victimize the out gone government functionaries for one reason or the other thereby reducing their profile to its lowness. Akhilesh has refused to fall a prey to this dismal trait. He will have to deal with a formidable opposition and instead of driving the opposition to the wall he would be well advised to extend the hand of cooperation and conciliation to the opposition especially the BSP. He will be the gainer out of such farsighted statesmanship.
Akhilesh has to remember that parliamentary elections are not far off. He must fix his eye on those elections when UP will send a large number of elected members to the Parliament. This necessitates fulfilling most of the promises he has made to the electorate because the success of SP in parliamentary elections will depend on how much effective is the delivery of his government.
UP needs to do more of developmental activity. Development is closely related to an environment of peace and tranquility. The nation expects perfect communal harmony in UP under his rule. SP had already won the Muslim minority of UP and now the UP minority has shown practically that it expects justice from Samajwadi Party. The difference between the Congress and the SP in the approach to the problems of the minorities in UP is that while the former usually creates a fear syndrome among the Muslim electorate in the hope of believing that only Congress can provide them security, the latter has instilled the confidence among the minority community that their role in the development of the state and in strengthening secularist structure of the Indian nation is of paramount importance. This infuses the Muslim minority with confidence and self reliance which, unfortunately, Congress has been trying to erode. Therefore the result of UP elections this time is a clear signal to the Congress that it will have to change its mindset about its treatment and perceptions of the Muslim minority of India. SP is geared to this requirement and has the instruments to strengthen that concept among the minority community.
Recent elections have also shown that the carrot of reservation shown by Congress stalwarts of UP Congress has not yielded the desired result and rather has boomeranged on them. More than reservation, the Muslim minority needs recognition of its role in nation building process. Here Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh have offered them a unique opportunity when they can come out with a formidable and widespread agenda of strengthening secular democracy of India. We expect them to come forward with their sincere and seriously contemplated policy and plans for solving outstanding issues before the nation including those of Kashmir and the Eastern States. They have the responsibility of diluting unwanted influence and activities of persons and organizations that have erroneously been thinking that Indian State can be cowed into submission through armed insurgency and violence.
One more lesson which we need to draw from the results of election in UP is that a young man of 38 years has been unanimously selected as the next Chief Minster. India has more than half of her population of youth below 35 years of age. Therefore contemporary India should pass into he hands of her youth. Young leadership like Akhilesh and Omar and Rahul Gandhi and Pilot and Scindia, all belong to the new and younger generation. The people of India have a specific perception about them. The perception is that they are deadly against corruption that has besmeared the fair name of our country in recent past. Secondly, these youngsters are secular not only by training but by conviction. They are not the children of partition and have not been carrying the baggage of memories of partition on their backs. The country should be safe in their hands. We are expecting a bright future for this country with the upcoming young team at the helm.
Links on en.wikipedia: