'Reformed' party vs the one & only


As the Uttar Pradesh election enters its last phase, Akhilesh Yadav claims a leher in the Samajwadi Party's favour and asks for bahumat or majority, not just votes. He promises free laptops, scholarships and debt waivers among a range of direct transfers. And he acknowledges his party may have made mistakes in the tenure of the last Mulayam Singh Yadav government on the law and order front.

"Now Netaji has said we will throw anyone who flouts the law in jail, even if he is an SP worker," he tells the crowd in Kundarki. "This time, we have given tickets only to those with a clean image," he claims at the next campaign stop in nearby Bilari where the nephew of don D P Yadav (formerly in the SP) too is in the fray. "We will use new technologies, like CCTV cameras, to lay out a surveillance network (to maintain law and order)," he tells The Indian Express between the two rallies in Moradabad.

On the same day, at an impressive rally in Moradabad town, Mayawati exhorts the crowd to go to the polling booth on March 3, come what may, in spite of "a storm, rain, cold, a wedding..." Reading from her prepared script, she asks them to disbelieve the virodhi takatein or opposition forces in which she includes the media. She meticulously lists the work her government did and what it couldn't do due to the allegedly obstructionist Congress-led Centre because of which, she says, she had to seek partnerships with the private sector.

In the end, as the BSP's candidates line up on stage to wave to the crowd, she says: "You may be angry with your local candidates. But ignore them. Remember, none of them is going to be chief minister. You are voting for me, your behen and your beti, to be CM."

... contd.

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