Mission 2017: Akhilesh admits to direct fight with Modi

The sneering remarks about the Gujarat model of development and references to the Gujarat riots by the Samajwadi Party (SP) leadership, including party President Mulayam Singh Yadav and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, now seem to have largely vanished.

After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections’ success of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which followed it up with remarkable performances under Modi in several state polls, giving ample proof a “Modi wave” still existed, the SP has now changed track to corner him.

The Samajwadi Party leadership has apparently realised toeing a negative line to browbeat Modi was not translating into votes, as economic development was fast becoming the core focus of the electorate.

The Akhilesh government has not only stepped on the gas to ensure the timely completion of its flagship projects, but has conceded that the main fight of the party would be against Modi in the 2017 Assembly polls.

Talking to newspersons here on Wednesday, Akhilesh Yadav had admitted 2015 and 2016 would be crucial and his government would be proactively reaching out to the people to apprise them of the development projects undertaken under his rule.

He said his government had launched flagship schemes and the next target was to complete these in time. By 2017, the Modi-led central government would also be over two years old and the electorate could then compare the performances of the two governments before voting, the chief minister said.

Recently, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav had also said he would not concede Uttar Pradesh to Modi at any cost.

Even after the announcement of the proposed merger of the erstwhile Janata Party factions.

Following Lok Sabha poll debacle, Akhilesh had realised populism could not help sail beyond a point amid rising aspirations, especially of the youth.

This prompted him to discard most populist schemes viz. free laptop, unemployment dole, Kanya Vidya Dhan etc, although these pre-poll promises were largely credited for giving a windfall to SP in 2012 polls and dislodging Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) from power.

However, SP got reduced to just 5 Lok Sabha seats in 2014, a dismal show compared to 23 seats it had won in 2009 general elections.

With Yadav taking keen interest in projects, the entire bureaucracy has pulled up socks to ensure completion before the state goes to polls in 2017.

The top three flagship projects, include Lucknow Metro Rail, Lucknow IT City and Agra-Lucknow Expressway. Metro rail projects have been proposed in Agra, Kanpur City, Varanasi and Meerut also.

Yadav has even launched his 'Clean UP, Green UP' campaign to counter Modi's 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'.