Shakespeare said: ” There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” That’s the perfect line to define the meteoric rise of Akhilesh Yadav! Both Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav do not enjoy exceptional leadership abilities. On the contrary, both of them are cunningly cashing-in-on the fortunes which dynastic politics has brought in their lives. However, Akhliesh has managed to steal the limelight in UP’s political battle by making Samajwadi Party gain the driver’s seat in Uttar Pradesh. He is now cynosure of all eyes, becoming one of the youngest persons to act as Chief Minister. Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, despite ferocious campaigning got totally marginalized. He is now a loser lost in deep introspection. Let’s analyze why there is a big difference in what they came to achieve after end of Assembly Elections 2012 in Uttar Pradesh.
1. Difference in background
True, both hail from families deeply involved in politics. However, Akhilesh Yadav enjoyed a huge edge over Rahul Gandhi in Assembly Elections 2012. His rural background enabled him to feel the pulse of voters in a much better way. He had no such inhibitions in striking a rapport with the plebeians unlike Rahul Gandhi, who had to try such gimmicks like eating from the hands of Dalits to win the confidence of marginalized souls. I mean the rustic elements that flows in the blood of Akhilesh Singh made him gain a better aura besides gaining more credibility in the eyes of voters.
On the other hand, the larger-than-life image of Rahul Gandhi always prevented him from conveying his perceptions in language understood by the commoners. In nutshell, Akhilesh Yadav managed to generate a better mass appeal on par with sentiments of voters. He appeared more down-to-earth in genuine way than Rahul swayed by script written by the sycophants.
2. Lack Of homework before the elections
Rahul Gandhi misunderstood the response of people who gathered in huge number to listen his pre-election speeches. It in itself was not indicative of victory as perceived by Rahul and his huge team of over-enthusiastic core group members. To translate this huge support into votes needed some real good grassroots level work. Had this been the case, Rahul’s maneuvers would have fetched more votes. However, there was no sincere will depicted on the part of Rahul and his team to translate promises into reality. Rahul admitted after the defeat that Samajwadi Party enjoyed better political network.That’s a blatant lie. The Congress party also enjoyed terrific network but people by now have realized that Congress makes tall promises but never delivers them. Rahul terribly failed to shatter the impressions created by the flawed working style of Congress.
At the other end of spectrum, Akhilesh used the reach of his party to know the local problems better and used the details to great advantage. At least, he sounded more better informed about the needs of UP people. And more convincing as well in his approach to remove them! It’s true that Samajwadi Party lacks ideological approach but somehow it managed to create suitable atmosphere in its favour.
3. Different Approach
Akhilesh Yadav was more worldly wise, mentally alert, realistic in intercepting the twists and turns of political battle which was to decide not only his political career but also the future of Samajwadi Party. Remember, he belongs to a party famous for all the wrong reasons. For many it’s a party that promotes “goonda” elements and a party solely surviving because of its pro Muslim policies. Against this backdrop, it was no mean task to carve a favorable image for the party trapped in negative images. Akhilesh Singh was successful-so what for the short time being-to create an impression that he is no mood to tolerate anti-social elements in party. As an image makeover, the criminal elements were shown the way.
Rahul Gandhi failed to act street smart like Akhilesh. He remained more sophisticated in his approach in dealing with worn-out heads inside his party. His meetings with common people looked more dramatic than real. He was acting on the script prepared by older and cynical Congressmen not in touch with reality anymore. It’s pretty interesting to know that at party level Rahul Gandhi brought remarkable changes.
He reinvented Youth Congress and also changed its working style but somehow he failed to make it above the corrupt work culture that dominates functioning of Congress. Tragically, he was more plain hearted, less ambiguous, substantial in his vision and yet he appeared insecure and shaken in eyes of the voters. His more concrete plans got sabotaged by the lesser dreams promoted by Akhilesh Yadav like providing free laptops, free treatment of cancer and heart operations, quota for Muslims, 20 hours electricity in rural belt and less manufacturing taxes on bicycle! In other words, the lesser interests worked wonders whereas the substantial objectives provided by Rahul only proved disastrous for the Congress!
4. Party enveloped in paradoxes
It’s one of the most strange aspects of this general election. It’s crystal clear that it’s not the personal charisma of either Rahul or Akhliesh Yadav, which ensured success or failure for parties they represent. It’s the complicated political equations which allowed a party devoid of vision to gain advantage over big national parties like Congress and BJP. So it’s a flawed exercise to contrast Rahul’s approach with Akhliesh when it’s clear that it’s not their personal charm or indigenous methodology which ensured such results.
The people in UP were desperate to end the “Mayaraj” of BSP. It was “enough is enough” for people of Uttar Pradesh. The Congress which rests on higher caste votes and Muslim votes failed to attract these communities whereas the Samajwadi Party with its secure Muslim votes managed to gain votes of others sections as well. Let’s be clear that arrival of Samajwadi Party is not indicative of Akhilesh Yadav’s acceptance as chosen leader. It’s more indicative of getting rid of BSP’s corrupt practices. The people of Uttar Pradesh may or may not be happy to see Akhilesh as CM but they now do heave a sigh of relief on exit of BSP! The only credit which Akhilesh needs to get is for his ability to create room for Samajwadi Party to gain more votes in these changed political scenario. He needs to be congratulated for the fact that he was able to present Samajwadi party as suitable alternative!
That makes Rahul Gandhi a greater loser! If we look at the works done by Congress, one will be surprised that it has done a lot for people. It’s the party that brought in Right to Education Bill, provided work to people under MANREGA and it also ensured better implementation of Right to Information Act. Rahul had ample opportunities to turn the positive points in his favour by making such good works known to the electorates in more effective way. It would have surely increased the vote share of Congress.
However, Rahul chose to be governed more by cosmetic gestures instead of developing a better mechanism to convince the voters about the credibility of ambitious future schemes similar to ones started by Congress in past. Anyway, it’s not the time for Rahul to cry over spilt milk. It’s time for him to learn right lessons. As far as Akhilesh Yadav is concerned, I am sure he would not waste the opportunity to emerge as mature leader when lady luck is by his side!