By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: Battleground Uttar Pradesh is ready for assembly polls with three important opposition leaders former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and Mayawati of BSP and Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi launching their election campaign.
Former chief minister and national President of Samajwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav started his campaign on October 12 through Vijay Yatra in his rath from Kanpur. The SP leader decided to launch his campaign rath yatra from October 12 as he did during previous elections as well. Akhilesh Yadav who is considered to be main challenger to BJP and CM Yogi Adityanath attracted huge crowd during rath yatra which speaks of his popularity with the masses.
While addressing his meetings, Akhilesh Yadav launched attack on BJP government for all round failure. Akhilesh Yadav said people wanted change in UP as they were fed up with divisive politics of BJP government. Akhilesh blamed Yogi government for its failure to attract investment in the state and deterioration in law and order situation.
With supporters chanting slogans nai sapa hai nai hawa hai, Akhilesh Yadav claimed that he was getting support from all sections of the society especially youth. He said that there was no competition with any other opposition party but at the same time he alleged that BJP was giving more importance to Congress to show it as main opposition to create confusion in voters mind. Exuding confidence Akhilesh Yadav said that irrespective of strategy of BJP to show Congress as main opposition, people had made up mind to bring back Samajwadi Party to power.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi challenged BJP by holding impressive meeting in Varanasi which is represented by PM Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha. Massive participation of Congress workers at Kisan nyay sammelan at Varanasi boosted the morale of Congress workers and leaders in eastern UP and generated tremendous goodwill in farmers. Priyanka Gandhi announced that she would continue to fight against BJP and force Union Government to sack central minister Ajay Mishra Teni whose son Ashish was arrested for his alleged role in death of farmers.
The manner in which Priyanka Gandhi handled Lakhimpur incident where farmers were killed and the way BJP government arrested her at Sitapur when she was going to meet families of victims has brought Congress into limelight.. The focus of world media was on Priyanka Gandhi the way she was arrested. People compared the arrest of Priyanka Gandhi with her grandmother Mrs Indira Gandhi,s visit to Belchi in Bihar to meet victims in late seventies. Mrs Gandhi staged comeback after her visit to Belchi.Significantly enough Priyanka Gandhi is spending more time in Lucknow to interact with party leaders to decide strategy to make her party more relevant in forthcoming assembly polls.
Former chief minister and national president of BSP Mayawati also launched campaign for her party on death anniversary of founder Kanshiram when she addressed an impressive rally of her party workers drawn from neighbouring districts. Despite being labelled as B team of BJP by other opposition parties, BSP national president Mayawati and general secretary Satish Mishra claimed support from powerful brahmin community. Mayawati and Satish Mishra alleged that Brahmins were unhappy with BJP as they were being targetted and attacked and there was no protection from the government.
There is no doubt that former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has emerged as the potential challenger to Yogi Adityanath and his party. As of now Akhilesh Yadav has announced that his party would not enter into alliance with any national party and would prefer to go alone in assembly polls.
Although Akhilesh has refrained from making attack on Congress or its leaders but there is continuous attack from muslim leaders from Congress Party on Samajwadi Party for doing nothing for muslims when they were in power. Now it is to be seen as to how Akhilesh Yadav and Priyanka Gandhi position themselve to garner support from the public in next assembly polls. (IPA Service)