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Striking parallels

Striking parallels
Highlights

The deep depression centred on India’s most populous state’s polity is turning out into a cyclone. The storm is fast-engulfing the first family of Uttar Pradesh.

The deep depression centred on India’s most populous state’s polity is turning out into a cyclone. The storm is fast-engulfing the first family of Uttar Pradesh. Given the fact that the State that has to witness crucial Assembly elections soon having far-reaching impact on national politics, the developments in Lucknow turn out to be a major suspense thriller for the country.

It’s certainly nothing unusual to see regional political parties woven around influential individuals always prone to such feuds and coups. For us who witnessed the August crisis in the then ruling Telugu Desam, the UP twists and turns do not really surprise so much. Chandrababu Naidu scripted the revolt against his father-in-law, what his followers describe, to rid the party and the leader of evil forces.

In a striking similarity, Akhilesh led a coup against his father and the SP founder in what he calls an attempt to rid the party and the leader from the influence of sinister elements. The people of Andhra Pradesh decisively resolved that Chandrababu Naidu’s stand was correct. Thus, even the charismatic NT Rama Rao had to concede in the political arena. Only history would judge whether it will be true so with Akhilesh.

However, the internal revolt wrote the political obituary of the founder of TDP, NT Rama Rao. But, the survival instincts demonstrated by the Samajwadi Party patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav make it difficult to predict the same in Lucknow. The professional wrestler-turned-politician has shown incredible ability to emerge stronger despite such political storms.

Like the TDP, the SP too is a party not just built around the leader’s charisma but having strong grassroots cadre which decides the fate of the party. When Chandrababu Naidu severed his ties with NTR, the party overwhelmingly rallied behind the former. The leader-cadre character of TDP could only save the party from such an unprecedented crisis.

It seems to be true with the SP as the party increasingly rallying behind Akhilesh braving Mulayam’s diktats. Mulayam’s political career began with socialist ideals. The SP has long abandoned these ideological moorings to remain as a regional party under a satrap. The TDP began its journey as a party to champion Telugu pride against Centre’s autocracy. But, the party no longer represents similar fervour.

The TDP and the SP have many things in common. Both are built around influential chieftains. Both are cadre-based. The son-in-law replaced here while the son revolts against father in the SP. Amar Singh seems to be playing the role of Lakshmi Parvathi. Quite interestingly, cycle is the election symbol for both TDP and the SP. Perhaps, Akhilesh finds solace form Naidu’s victory in TDP internal power-war.

No leader is invincible. The only difference is that the SP faces this crisis just before it has to face crucial elections with Akhilesh facing anti-incumbency. He does not enjoy the luxury which his Telugu counterpart did. Chandrababu Naidu’s war was within the party. But, Akhilesh has to test his political acumen and popularity at the hustings facing head-on his father who is a warrior of many wars.

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