Failed in 2017, will UP Boys pass this time? - Hindustan Times
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Failed in 2017, will UP Boys pass this time?

Feb 22, 2024 05:44 AM IST

Rahul was 46 at that time, while Akhilesh was 43. Presently, Akhilesh is 50 years old, and Rahul is 53. Nevertheless, the slogan ‘UP Ke Ladke’ has emerged from the dusty shelves of memory.

LUCKNOW: The scene and mood on January 22, 2017, at a joint press conference of the Samajwadi Party and Congress were not much different from what they were seven years later on Wednesday.

Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi wave hand to the crowd during a road show on January 29, 2017 in Lucknow (HT File)
Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi wave hand to the crowd during a road show on January 29, 2017 in Lucknow (HT File)

The then Congress UP chief Raj Babbar and the SP chief Naresh Uttam Patel, along with others on the dais, raised their hands first and then announced the alliance for the 2017 UP Assembly polls, allocating 105 of the 403 UP assembly seats to Congress and the rest to the SP. Immediately after, a slogan and catchline for the alliance was coined as ‘UP Ke Ladke’ (the boys of UP).

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Rahul was 46 at that time, while Akhilesh was 43. Presently, Akhilesh is 50 years old, and Rahul is 53. Nevertheless, the slogan ‘UP Ke Ladke’ has emerged from the dusty shelves of memory.

The Congress had been weak in the state for years, while the SP, despite coming to power in UP with a strong majority of 224 seats in the 403-member Assembly in 2012, faced internal conflicts just before the polls. This internal strife in ‘Yadav Pari-war’ (the tussle to control the party between then Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle, Shivpal Yadav), posed challenges for the party.

The alliance miserably failed, the BJP came to power with a thumping win on 312 seats whereas the SP’s tally fell from 224 to a mere 47, the Congress could win only 7 seats, leading to the collapse of the alliance.

Now, after months of uncertainty, tension, and tussle, the alliance between the two parties has been revived under the nationwide umbrella alliance INDIA bloc for the 2024 polls. The biggest question now is, Will the alliance work?

“Predicting the possible success or failure of an alliance is difficult, but it is commendable that the alliance has materialised. It was a necessity, otherwise, the BJP would have had a clear advantage. Neither of the two parties was in a position to challenge the BJP alone. Now, they have a fighting chance. The biggest challenge for them at this point is to avoid any parochial approach or vested interests,” said professor SK Dwivedi, a political analyst and former head of the department of political science at Lucknow University.

After the announcement of the seat-sharing, nearly all SP leaders are saying that the PDA (Backwards, Dalits, Minorities) with the INDIA bloc will defeat the NDA.

Meanwhile, Akhilesh Yadav took to X and wrote: “Congratulations to all for the cordial alliance. To save Ambedkar’s Constitution, to implement Lohia ji’s proportional share (caste representation in jobs), for the sake of socialist values, to secure the rights of 90% (PDA), and for the progress of the country... Let us unite.... PDA will defeat NDA.”

Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), who had been the SP and INDIA bloc partner till a fortnight ago, has smirked on the alliance. Anupam Mishra, the national secretary of the RLD wrote on X: “Now, that the ‘Hand (Congress)’ has held the ‘Cycle (Samajwadi Party)’, the speed (of SP) has come down...”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Pankaj Jaiswal is Chief of Bureau, Uttar Pradesh and covers politics. His continued interest in rural, distress, and development journalism, fetched him a handful of prestigious awards and fellowships. Pankaj is a photo-journalist too and tweets at @augustus29lotus

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