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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set his Ashwamedh horse free in  Uttar Pradesh which will gallop through seven zones from February 11 onwards. But, can Akhilesh Yadav, who is at present riding the Samajwadi Party rath with his Gaandeev, stop it? It seems unlikely, as Uttar Pradesh is all set to receive the Modi version of Ram Rajya now. The people of Uttar Pradesh secretly cherish  growth and prosperity which they have miserably lacked over the years under various rules. Akhilesh tried his best, but a single man can hardly pull the truck loaded with old heavyweights beyond a few steps! Present chief minister of Uttar Pradesh does have the Modi streak, but  all depends upon how he unshackles himself from a regressive Mulayam Singh politics whose cards have lost currency in the present environment of digital strategy. We all know that Akhilesh has a personal admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as far as his commitment to digital India, economic growth and crackdown on black money is concerned. But, at the same time he is too attached to his father to say goodbye to the old ship. Though his recent experiment with separating himself from and returning to the Mulayam umbrella is only an attempt to give a message to the political bazaar that he is available for a new journey with a like-minded  associate. However, the move which is being taken as a political gimmick to garner sympathy for Akhilesh and project him as a future Samajwadi stalwart, is more than what meets the eye—-it may either overhaul Samajwadi Party ideologically or throw out an offshoot of neo-Samajwad under Akhilesh and Dimple. But, all depends on how Akhilesh makes the best of the situation. The young Samajwadi leader may either sit on top and pilot the party his way or let himself be dragged down by the old warlords. In the latter situation, he will have no option but to part his ways with the family party. What if he separates from his parents? He may have to look for a new political leader or himself become one to combat the raging Modi wave. Time is short and the challenge huge. There is no problem if his pre-poll separation proves fruitful. But, what if he loses the base? In that situation, he will have no option but to be wildly creative and explore within and find the like-minded leader outside. Who can that leader be? 
Wild hop—a risk?
A wild hypothesis that  Akhilesh should join the BJP to realise his worth as a promising young politician is not all that wrong as far as constructive politics is concerned. However, it is not practical for a number of political undercurrents and reasons. The idea is good as the BJP will get a ready-made chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. But, the move will prove risky for the BJP and Akhilesh both in terms of cadre support—-and that will be suicidal for both.  Therefore, Akhilesh can only have a handshake with the BJP after poll if the numbers remain in his favour—which itself is a big doubt for now.  It is true that Akhilesh has guts and potential to prove himself as a worthy young politician. However, he does need a leader like Prime Minister Modi to realise his dreams.  A Mulayam-free Akhilesh will be no objection to Modi, despite some ambitious local leaders not liking the idea at all. There are some chances of a victorious Akhilesh of a defeated party finding himself in a better bargaining position in the post-result scenario. However, if he manages to sideline uncle Shivpal Yadav through tactical insinuations and get control over the party cockpit, the entire burden of poll results will be on his back. Where will he stand then? The BJP will like the situation where it sees a potential leader on a weak standing post-election.
 The pointers
Akhilesh is in a Karna-like situation where he wishes to prove himself better than Arjuna to Krishna. But, his psychological ties with his lineage are stopping him from taking the bold step into future.If we go by the undercurrents in Uttar Pradesh, Modi is selling hot despite his much-criticised demonetisation step. Everybody is taking it to be a big and bold step which ultimately means good for the common man and the country. In fact, Modi-led BJP fulfils the demand of the state for growth, digitisation, cleanliness and security. Modi’s performance and commitment to reply to Pakistan-like enemies in the same coin has turned all in his favour.The BJP under his leadership should be given a chance in Uttar Pradesh too for a change. And it is going to be so, as far as people’s mood swing suggests. Let Uttar Pradesh get set for a Modi version of Ram Rajya—secular, firm, democratic and non-fanatic. But, none want Akhilesh to become a political non-entity due to want of a good opportunity. All want him to lead a reformed Samajwadi Party which is ideologically growth and technology oriented and not obstinately power-besotted.  

Vivek Sharma

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