Elections 2017: Key faces to watch out for Uttar Pradesh polls

Uttar Pradesh polls will perhaps be the major political event to watch after 2014 and may decide the fate of the Modi government in 2019

GN Bureau | January 4, 2017


#SP   #BSP   #Mayawati   #Mulayam Singh   #Akhilesh Yadav   #Politics   #elections 2017   #Nasim Zaidi   #Uttar Pradesh   #Election Commission  
Elections 2017: Key faces to watch out for Uttar Pradesh polls

Here are the few candidates who can make or break the the political fortunes of the BJP in the upcoming UP elections. 

Akhilesh Yadav

There is feud in the family and withitn the Samajwadi Party. Then there is track record of bad governance. Riding the bicycle successfully again in the state would be an uphill task for Akhilesh Yadav. Except for the Lucknow beautification project, Lucknow metro and the Lucknow-Agra highway, there is hardly anything that Akhilesh can showcase in the polls. Meanwhile, the feud in the family is deepening and there are lots of uncertainties. In political circles of Lucknow, people often mock that UP has ‘four and a half’ chief ministers (Akhilesh being a small fraction in front of his father and uncles).

Mulayam Singh Yadav
The trouble in the SP began in September when at a party function, an irked MSY commented, “What has Akhilesh done except ride the bicycle before being sworn to power in 2012?” The seed of the feud between father and son were sown at that very moment. MSY has been a three time UP CM. The ongoing turbulence in the family has affected Netaji to an extent that he sacked his son Akhilesh Yadav from the party on December 30. A day after the decision was revoked by no one else but him. The father figure in the party is helpless even as veterans and senior party supporters are by his side along with cousin Ram Gopal Yadav and other family members.
 
Sheila Dikshit
Congress party was first among all parties to announce their CM candidate for the state. With Sheila Dikshit’s name, the party played the Brahmin card in the state where caste appeasements play an important role in deciding the fate of the elections. The former Delhi CM is the daughter-in-law of prominent Congress leader and former union minister Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was a Brahmin face in the state. Sheila Dikshit had represented Kannauj parliamentary constituency of Uttar Pradesh (1984-1989). 
 
Mayawati
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati can come out strong this time, feel many in Uttar Pradesh. Her style of campaigning tells how she is reaching out to Dalit and Muslim population, which constitutes 40 percent of the electorate. If she gets through and manages to come back, 2014 Lok Sabha poll debacle can be forgotten.
 
Keshav Prasad Maurya
BJP’s Uttar Pradesh chief is the man who appears on billboards and posters put up in nooks and corners of towns and villages of the state. One poster that went viral was of Maurya depicted as Lord Krishna. Maurya’s background of selling tea is often compared with his boss Narendra Modi. He has been associated with the RSS and the VHP-Bajrang Dal from an early age. He has also participated in the gauraksha and Ram Janmabhoomi campaigns
 
Pankaj Singh
An MBA from a private university, Singh is the son of the union home minister Rajnath Singh and is serving as the party’s general secretary in the state. The political career of home minister Rajnath Singh’s elder son, Pankaj Singh, has not been free of controversies. It is alleged that his father’s influence has helped him rise through the ranks of BJP. In an interview with Governance Now, he said, “I can assure you that we will win more than 300 assembly seats in the state. We will be in the majority.”
 
Smriti Irani
Many viewed the sudden demotion of Smriti Irani from the HRD ministry to Textile as a strategy for UP polls. Irani gave a tough fight to the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Although she is missing from poll rallies and campaigns in Uttar Pradesh, she might be a strong contender for the party’s CM face in the upcoming polls.
 

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