Mulayam Singh Yadav must be a happy man today. And why not ? He ought to be happy. Nothing gives more pleasure in life than seeing your son succeed. And what a success it has been ! From being taken as a possible unwanted junior ally to Congress ,in case of a fractured mandate to a position of unquestioned dominance of SP with a clean majority; that's what sums up the achievement of Akhilesh Yadav.
Make no mistake. This was not an emotional gift by the people of UP to the old and ailing ex pahalwan Netaji. It was a mandate for change and hope. The people of UP wanted the untested, rejecting a pool of known devils. Neither the drama queen Uma Bharati nor the self seeking Mayavati . They rejected them both. The false and unsure Congress was given the short shrift by the electorate.
And yes,they also negated the style of politics which has marked over five decades of his father's political career. It is a vote for change. In every sense. The people wanted a relief from the vicious caste and religion based politics. They wanted development. And they wanted to be sure that the person who rules them for the next five years get a free hand. Akhilesh Yadav is the chief architect of this victory, whatever be the legacy of Mulayam may be.
I am not by any means a supporter of SP or Akhilesh. I am not hopeful that they will be able to give a corrution free and criminal free government. The cynic in me raises its head and wants to take this mandate with a pinch of salt and nothing more than an item of passing amusement in my silly and busy life in the biggest metro. But the eternal optimist in me wants to savour this victory of this young man, even if he is raised and nurtured in the cradle of the worst form of casteist and degenerate form of politics in the badlands of the India's most populous state. Even though he perpetuates the dynastic rule , he has given us an option, a choice from the overhyped ,uncertain leader of the future projected by the Congress party.
It is very easy to treat politics as an entertainment on the idiot box from the cosy sofa set in the sheltered existence of our lives and talk about the politicians with disdain without trying to know the vast and varied geography, history, society or the economics of our country which is multi dimensional and so large that we lose track of the enormity and overwhelming effect it has on our daily lives. But there are days, hours, moments in the history of a nation when time stops, looks back and changes course. Some sixth sense within me says this may be such a day which will be looked back on after two decades.
Very soon Akhilesh will spend the balance of huge goodwill generated for him and as he negotiates the quagmire of the Indian politics and governance of a state like UP , he will start making compromises, mistakes, misjudgements and retrograde actions. He should try hard to learn the ropes of governance and statesmanship as fast as he can. Here, I would like to give him some unwanted advice. He should eschew any thoughts of emulating his father, how much respect he has for him or whatever pressures are brought on him . Rather , he should look around and try to imbibe some qualities of three Chief ministers who should be his role models :
Like Narendra Modi he should concentrate on development as a non negotiable item and use it as a tool to bring in more opportunities for the most neglected, instead of resorting to caste and religion as crutches.
Like Nitish Kumar he should try to rise above the confines of a caste leader and become acceptable to all sections of the society and try to give the public relief from crime and the fear of getting kidnapped,raped,killed or looted whether they are in their house or on the streets.
Last but not the least like Navin Pattanaik, the cold , calculating , suave and silent style of decimating opposition, first within his party and then his rivals to establish unquestioned control over without appearing to dirty his hands in the hustle and bustle of power.