In conversation — Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav
Ajay Singh | March 1, 2012
After a hectic schedule, Akhilesh Yadav, son of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, stopped overnight at the Shibli College guest house in Azamgarh. Since the district is known to be a Samajwadi Party bastion, owing to predominance of Yadav-Muslim social equations here, he was surrounded by a large number of supporters and also some local chieftains with not-so-clean record in public life. Yet Akhilesh strikes a different chord. Though he is a chip of the old block in terms of putting in hard work, he is a tech-savvy and converses with his assistants in impeccable English — a trait which makes him different from his father who is known for his strong pitch for removal of English from the school curriculum. In a brief but candid interview with Ajay Singh, Akhilesh reveals his plans for the state.
How is the people’s response to your yatra? What is your assessment?
What could I say about assessment? I think we are getting maximum response. In fact, we are the only one recognised as a political party which fought against the BSP’s corruption and autocracy. Hence, we expect to occupy the main pole against the BSP. Our workers suffered a lot. Everywhere in the state, we have been opposing Mayawati and her misgovernment all these years.
But Rahul Gandhi also claims to be fighting against Mayawati?
But people know the reality. Just when the elections came, the Congress began to make noise against Mayawati. We all know how they have been collaborating all these years.
I saw you using an iPad and heard you conversing in English with your close associates. Does this not go against your father’s strong reservation against promotion of the English language?
Much of what my father said about the English language was misconstrued by people. He has been echoing what Ram Manohar Lohia had said. In his view, it would be wrong to associate a sense of empowerment with a language. If somebody is looked down upon because he speaks Hindi, it is wrong. In the same way, if someone speaks English, he cannot be treated superior. But nobody was against any language per se. As far as my using an iPad is concerned, I would emphasise that the technology can help in promoting language. We can use Hindi on computers and get benefitted by that. I am not averse to using any language on technology. It rather helps.
Don’t you get worried by a democracy where a family lineage decides political succession? In your case for instance, you are benefitted by this lineage.
But this is not only confined to India. Even in the United States, the family lineage has become an important factor. But let me tell you, if I am not able to get people’s confidence, the lineage would be of no use to me. It will help only if I am capable. Otherwise I run the risk of getting doomed. And it is a serious risk.
Are you saying that by opting for a career in politics, you have exposed yourself to a risk?
Of course, I am running the risk. My acceptance would certainly depend on my capabilities.
Was your resistance to inducting DP Yadav in the party-fold intended to correct the image of the party, which has been seen as siding with history-sheeters in the past?
Only those who oppose the Samajwadi Party would propagate this theory of image-correction. I was opposed to his induction because there is no place for such people in our party. He contested elections against my father and other family members. Given a chance, he would contest against me. Why should we take in such people?
But he had association with your party in the past. He was a minister in the Mulayam Singh regime. How can you disassociate this past?
Let this past be past and it should not determine our future. I am keener on building up the future of the party. And we are determined to build the Samajwadi Party as a progressive and modern political force in the state.
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