Akhilesh Yadav’s new M-Y formula promises to revive party’s fortunes in UP

Samajwadi Party’s traditional M-Y (Muslim-Yadav) combination has catapulted the party to power multiple times. Now it’s time to move beyond it, feels SP

SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav (File photo)
SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav (File photo)

NH Correspondent/Lucknow

In a subtle move, Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party has redefined the M-Y combination from Muslim-Yadav -- which formed the bulwark of his support base-- to Mahila-Youth signifying a paradoxical shift from its age-old political stance aimed at targeting almost 70 percent of the vote base of Uttar Pradesh.

"In the new Samajwadi Party, M-Y stands for Mahila (women) and Youth. We are addressing issues in a larger perspective now and are not shackled by casteism," said SP president Akhilesh Yadav in an informal interaction with reporters.

The announcement was made at the party’s headquarters where a slogan was wafting at the background which said: Nai Hawa hai, Nai SaPa hai (It’s new SP, a fresh wind is blowing).

With one announcement the Samajwadi Party has sent the message loud and clear that it wants to shed the image of pro-Muslim and the tag of ‘ahiro ki party’. The old M-Y combination had previously helped the party win many elections and catapulted Mulayam Singh Yadav as chief minister twice and Akhilesh Yadav as the ‘youngest Chief Minister’ once.

The other parties like BJP, Congress and BSP have now started targeting non-Yadavs among the backward, while SP’s pro-Muslim image has pushed the BJP to sharpen its Hindutava agenda shepherding the Hindus under its umbrella.

This time too the BJP has initiated the process to replicate its “tried and tested formula” but Akhilesh’s strategy may throw a spanner at saffron party’s moves.

“The opposition has created a wrong perception that Samajwadi Party is a caste-based party which works only for the welfare of a particular community. This is a wrong perception. Ours is the party which works for the development of whole society, not fragmentation of it,” SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhry said.

He said the women are being subjected to the worst of treatment under Yogi Raj. “Look at the figures released by NCRB. The crime against women has gone up. We are talking about protecting these women. Similarly, the youth are losing jobs because of pro-industrialist policies of the government. We, as SP workers, stand by these youth,” he said.

As per Election Commission data, in 1999 elections there were 14.40 crore voters in Uttar Pradesh. The count of first-time voters stands at approximately 45 lakh, of which 16.75 lakhs are in the age of 18-19 years. There is a feeling in political parties that a young voter, who associates himself/herself with the party, tends to remain connected with it for a long time.

Working on this dictum that SP has rephrased its slogan making the youth as the fulcrum of its election campaign. The party’s strategy rests on the welfare work being done by the party when Samajwadi Party was in power. It is going to harp on the scheme to distribute laptops among meritorious students and the job opportunities created by it.

Similarly, in the cases of Mahila, the party harps on the Samajwadi Party Pension scheme of Rs 1,000 per month which was given to women head of families. The party is linking it with empowerment of women.

Another factor which has forced the Samajwadi Party to change its strategy is dominance of women in recently held Panchayat elections. As per the figures, women have won 31,212 out of 58,176 village head posts, claiming 53.7 percent of the seats. Women have also won 447 block pramukh seats and 42 district panchayat chairperson seats in the panchayat elections this year.

Nomita P Kumar of Giri Institute of Development Studies in Lucknow said that greater awareness among women and increasing number of educated contestants in the panchayat elections are being seen as major factors responsible for the stupendous victory of women in the panchayat elections.

“It is early to predict, but the change in Akhilesh’s strategy may work. His outreach campaign may push more women and youth towards the Cycle,” she said.

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Published: 18 Sep 2021, 1:50 PM