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The axiom 'Well begun is half done' fits aptly on Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who sprung into the action mode soon after taking oath of office on March 19.
Over the past month, while Yogi is gradually and steadfastly earning the reputation of a hard taskmaster and a stickler for rule book, a divided and disarrayed opposition space in UP has come in handy to the new chief minister in furthering his agenda without any opposition noise.
On one hand, while his government has been on a virtual overdrive to fulfill the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) pre-poll promises and undertaking measures that directly impacts the lives of the masses, the opposition is yet to come to terms with their crushing defeat handed in the 2017 state poll.
Over the last few weeks, the principal opposition parties viz. Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have publically expressed their willingness to forge a grand anti-BJP front comprising all the “secular” outfits before the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
However, their rejoinder statements in the last couple of days have only fortified their strong disapproval and reticence at being a part of the proposed anti-BJP alliance, since it is fraught with the danger of subsuming their individual identities in the process.
Bahujan Samaj Party
Addressing her party leaders here yesterday, BSP president Mayawati, who is still smarting over the UP poll loss wherein her party’s tally came down to 19 from 80 in 2012, said the possibility of becoming a part of anti-BJP front would be incumbent upon several factors, including the vote bank of other constituents, number of seats allotted to BSP etc. She even hinted of BSP fighting the poll on its own.
Recently, Mayawati had anointed her younger brother Anand Kumar as the party vice president with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing corruption case against him.
A few days back, SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had also rebuffed suggestions of the party aligning with BSP to defeat BJP, saying SP was potent enough to contest on its own.
Besides, SP has long been battling internal strife with party president Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav at loggerheads over leadership.
Shivpal has publically advised Akhilesh to step down as the party president and hand over the reigns to Mulayam following the poll loss. There have been strong rumours of Shivpal forming another political front or even joining BJP.
Congress, which could win only 7 seats, down from 28 in 2012 UP poll, has been busy fending off infighting. The party has recently sacked a few state party leaders over their public outbursts against the state leadership. Its senior leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi had left the party to join BJP last year and she is now a cabinet minister in the Yogi government.
The state party leaders have failed to enthuse its cadres and a large section of the party feel the pre-poll tie-up with SP had jolted its future prospects.
‘Action man’ Yogi
The fractured opposition space is providing the much needed breather to Yogi for furthering the ruling party’s agenda and creating a launch pad for the 2019 LS poll campaign. So far, his government has announced to waive crop loans worth Rs 36,000 crore, signed ‘Power to All’ document, formed anti-Romeo squad, closed illegal slaughter houses etc.
Yogi has been keeping the state bureaucracy and authorities on toes with his regimented work culture, long working hours, impromptu spot inspections, taking feedback directly from the public, castigating VIP culture and public opulence etc.