As a jubilant Tipu aka Akhilesh Yadav, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, was given the Samajwadi Party (SP) symbol of the cycle, he was crowned Sultan in an order from the Election Commission which established that his father, Mualyam Singh, is now dethroned.
Getting the cycle symbol is a bonus for Yadav Junior who will also announce his coming of age as the new "Netaji
" of the SP by announcing a grand alliance with his "mitr
" (friend) Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi. Yadav will also move quickly to release his "manifesto"- the candidates selected by his camp are already campaigning in their constituencies. Says one of his closest confidants, "The symbol is a bonus. But the entire party is with Bhaiyya
. Even Rahul Gandhi only wanted an alliance with him. Not with the old guard of the party like Shivpal (Yadav)."
So what next in the electric upcoming battle for the gargantuan state of UP?1.
Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi will announce the alliance at a highly-choreographed function, bringing some rare cheer to the sullen Congress cadre which saw its leaders virtually giving up the election - till now.2.
The Congress is hoping that the new mojo of "Teflon Tipu" who seems to have shrugged off anti-incumbency and emerged as a "Jagat
" will rub off on Gandhi and help the Congress climb out of the abys of single digit numbers that it was staring at.3.
The two "yuva" (youth) leaders (quite a stretch when both are in their 40s but their adoring parties will have it no other way), will address at least three massive rallies (called "raila
" in UP) to show case the "secular anti-BJP front."4.
Akhilesh's vengeful father Mulayam has threatened to contest against him and rallied his durable "Maulana
Mulayam" cadre by accusing Junior of being "anti-Muslim" and not selecting enough minority candidates. Yadav Junior will hope to reassure and signal to the 19 per cent Muslim vote that he's as "pro-minority" as his father. No signs yet of how.5.
Mulayam was perhaps anticipating the Election Commission giving the advantage to Akhilesh which is why he began his political dog whistling. Unfortunately for "Netaji
," he's now firmly yesterday's man. While anyone who claims to know the real story of what exactly went down between father and son is dissembling, what is unambiguous is that it's the end of the road for one of India's wiliest politicians. He's been checkmated by his own son.6.
For the moment, it's also finis for the ambitious Aparna Yadav, Mulayam's "bahu
" (daughter-in-law) from his second family. She may still contest the Lucknow Cantonment seat but is unlikely to win against the combined Congress-Samajwadi candidate.7.
Perhaps sensing which way the wind was blowing, Amar Singh, family wrecker par excellence who had set off this round of the Yadav Dangal, left this morning for London. Singh, distrusted by most parties through substantial efforts of his own, will now be consigned to the margins of politics as his main promoter is without any real power.8.
Getting the cycle symbol will prove to a confused SP cadre that has been riven by divisions that Akhilesh is now the official power centre of the party. Says a senior SP leader, "Now that Tipu has emerged out of his shadow so completely, who knows whether Netaji
will do one of the flip flops he's famous for and bless Tipu?" What is clear is that Junior after his convincing victory will choose to be gracious in keeping with his Nice Guy image.9.
Akhilesh and wife Dimple Yadav will address rallies together to ensure that bhaiyya
's family image is intact, important given the feud with his father. Dimple will be made a lead campaigner. The master mind will be Ram Gopal Yadav, Junior's consigliere and the man who must have forgotten how many times he has been expelled from the party by Netaji
Currently, the biggest loser is Mulayam's younger brother Shivpal Yadav who gambled on a rebellion and lost.
The BJP, whose chief Amit Shah met multiple times with Amar Singh and is believed to have encouraged his role in the Samajwadi feud, will now be watching anxiously hoping that the Muslim vote still splits between the Akhilesh-Congress alliance and the Netaji
faction of the SP.
The BJP is also facing internal trouble with Feroze Varun Gandhi refusing to campaign and an angry Yogi Adityanath who fancied himself as Chief Ministerial candidate threatening to sabotage the party in his stronghold of Eastern UP.
With the opposition consolidating like in the case of Bihar, the lack of a Chief Ministerial face and the total reliance on Brand Modi could come back to haunt Shah. The duo of Shah and Modi are calling all the shots in the UP election and will bear the responsibility of the result. A win will hugely power Modi's general election campaign and a loss would be a huge dent to his current unquestioned hold over the party.
Mayawati now has a new slogan about the two desperate dynasts coming together and wants the voters of UP to "teach the entitled a lesson." She is also boasting that a desperate Congress had approached her first and she turned them down because she believes that she will win on her own. But, not taking any chances, she's also repeatedly taking a public oath of not building anymore memorials to herself.
Brace yourself. We're only just getting started.(Swati Chaturvedi is an author and a journalist who has worked with The Indian Express, The Statesman and The Hindustan Times.)Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.