Does Akhilesh face political isolation?

Image- Zee news

For last few weeks one political discussion has been the point of attraction for various political analysts, the probability of grand alliance of opposition parties in the biggest state of country the Uttar Pradesh. There had been different signals from different corners on this probability, the speculations in the name of sources had been broken on the news channels about the nature of grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh which were later denied by the political parties, but in between these developments few questions come in mind. Why political parties who are supposed to be the partners in grand alliance are taking the route of news channels and news papers to talk to each other? Does it mean the proper communication channel for grand alliance has not begun yet between stake holders?

In last few weeks one leader from Uttar Pradesh who seems to be more vocal and expressive about the grand alliance is the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and president of Samjwadi Party Akhilesh Yadav , he comes more often on News Channels with his views on the nature and shape of grand alliance in the most populated state of country but the same time other stake holders in the grand alliance BSP , Congress and other small parties who can be part of this alliance are keeping the cards close to their chest.

In this scenario it would be interesting to watch why Akhilesh Yadav expresses him to so often, as few days back he told media personnel that don’t be in rush and be patient to hear about the alliance and today before media he again expressed himself and desired to meet the Chief Minister of Telangana KCR and talk about the proposed federal front from KCR. There have been two ways of describing and reading this statement in media. The one way to describe the statement  was the hint from Akhilesh Yadav to look for other options other than supposed grand alliance of various regional parties under the umbrella of Congress party and other way of reading the statement was the polite rejection of Akhilesh Yadav to the invitation of KCR at this moment and keeping his option open to meet him in near future to talk about the proposal of federal front from Chief Minister of regional parties other than two national parties Congress and BJP.

The media read and described both the ways of statement as they could find it suitable to their analysis, but apart from the statement of Akhilesh Yadav there are few other factor needs to be taken in to consideration to read the mind of Akhilesh Yadav who finds him in political isolation with each passing day in coalition politics.

In year 2017 when Congress under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi decided to ally with Samajwadi Party in last moment to dump its electoral strategy for Uttar Pradesh , it was a decision from young leadership of Congress the then Vice president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Vadra Gandhi and the young brigade thought it as game changer and the slogan of change in Uttar Pradesh was severely compromised and the people of Uttar Pradesh who could have looked to Congress party with a resurgent political force in long term would have become indecisive due to alliance with a political party who was incumbent and vulnerable to become the casualty of the slogan of “ Change”.  The results in the legislative assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh had been catastrophic for both Samjawadi Party and Congress but the reaction of Samajwadi Party to severe its alliance with Congress with immediate effect after the Assembly elections did not go well with Congress leadership and cadre of Congress at grass root level as well.

Since assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh there had been some by elections in the state which have given some hope to the Samajwadi Party in its alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party to take on the juggernaut of BJP leadership in near future and the joint efforts of SP and BSP has emboldened the idea of grand alliance in the state in upcoming general elections to take on BJP.

The political reality in Uttar Pradesh has changed a little bit since assembly elections in 2017 and by elections last year. The Modi wave which had swept the state of Uttar Pradesh in 2014 general elections and assembly elections 2017 seems to be fading and the phenomenon of rejection of Congress party in Hindi speaking belt has been halted with the victory of Congress party in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh. The victory of Congress in three crucial Hindi Speaking states even without having an alliance with SP and BSP has made the bargaining power of Congress much stronger as it was thought earlier and Samajwadi Party which offers only two seats to Congress in the grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh which has 80 parliamentary seats makes Congress look much inferior as claimant of pivot to any grand alliance after the elections.

The experience of Congress party with Samajwadi Party had not been very good in past also as it was the party which denied Sonia Gandhi to take oath as Prime Minister when the Atal Bihari Vajpaee government fall short of majority in no confidence motion in 1999 and he has to resign as Prime Minister of Country and Sonia Gandhi as leader of opposition was called in to form the alternative government and she put the numbers before the then President of India but the leader of Samajwadi Party Mulyam Singh Yadav did not offer support to Congress party and Sonia Gandhi could not become the Prime Minister of Country and on other occasion in 2015 when the grand alliance in Bihar was formed to defeat the BJP , Samajwadi Party decided to leave the grand alliance with an excuse to not being offered respectable seats in alliance.  In the crucial assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh when Congress was fighting a election for its survival it again find Samajwadi party not become part of an alliance with Congress on the contrary it decided to fight alone to divide the opposition votes.

These previous examples of Samajwadi Party has lowered the enthusiasm of Congress party for its former ally in Uttar Pradesh and it has made its plan B ready to deal with any situation and plan B talks more about the feelings of party workers to be part of any electoral strategy . Few political dynamics which has changed swiftly in last two years has made the whole issue of alliance complicated for Akhilesh Yadav as he  has other priorities for his political survival  in compare to Congress and BSP supremo Mayawati. Akhilesh Yadav want to make his  bid more strong  for 2022 with grand alliance, but Congress party and BSP both looks to this alliance with an eye on  upcoming general elections and in last two years the minorities particularly Muslims across the country  have galvanized with Congress party and Dalits too look to Congress party as their good option and this changing reality forces the regional parties to come with  an alliance with Congress party otherwise they would be in danger to losing their Muslims and Dalit votes to Congress party in their states in long term   .

The real challenge which Akhilesh Yadav faces in Uttar Pradesh is to balance between not being seen as splitting the secular votes on one side and not conceding his Muslims constituency to Congress in long term and BSP is too faced with this challenge as Dalits too are looking to Congress. The undercurrent of large Muslim and  Dalit  population is favoring a strong alliance to take on BJP in general elections and this situation   Akhilesh Yadav not left   with much options as if he does not become part of an alliance and be seen as spoiler for  secular alliance he had to pay the price in near future and his miscalculated move  can make his rebel uncle Shivpal Yadav the real claimant of Samajwadi Party and his group of SP along with BSP and Congress can be in  position to accommodate other smaller parties in state who are now part of the NDA but drifting away from the alliance .

The victory of Congress party in three crucial Hindi speaking states and the poor performance of SP and BSP in just concluded assembly elections in three Hindi Speaking states has changed the game of alliance in Uttar Pradesh and the bargaining power on table has got changed too and in this situation  the Samajwadi party and its chief Akhilesh Yadav has  very little options left before him  and his expressions on grand alliance more often  only tells his insecurity for being isolated in alliance politics in Uttar Pradesh .