‘Akhilesh Yadav’ was the answer a sixth standard student of Uttar Pradesh gave to my query on who the President of India is. The answer gives insights into how Akhilesh Yadav as the Chief Minister hasn’t brought much of a wind of change, still how much influence he has in the state’s politics.

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More so relevant with the internal crisis of Samajwadi Party, Akhilesh proves that he isn’t testing his strength just on his dynastic gains. This is opinion is to compare his approach and influence with Rahul Gandhi’s, proving politics shouldn’t necessarily be in blood but in brains.
Though both of them are the next in line politicians succeeding to the their family’s reckoned political presence, only one seems to live up to it (no prizes for guessing who). Releasing his own list of candidates to holding a meeting of the existing MLAs prior to that of party supremo Mulayam Singh, he shows his readiness to battle it out and take the reigns. He is more a politician than Rahul, with his own base of supporters and unwavering decisions.

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It is not impossible for Samajwadi party to lose the 2017 UP elections. They have not been either insulated from the malice, however, more positive and politically acceptable approach of Akhilesh has helped him reach beyond the traditional voters of SP. He, though with drifts from his father and party supremo, did not drift from his “Yadav” identity to hold on the traditional party supporters. On his re-entering the party a day after his expulsion, a leading Hindi daily has said “danda marne se pani alag nahi hota” (meaning: water cannot be divided by a stick). His relations with his step mother and Mulayam Singh Yadav may be sour, but he has made his own space and influential presence in the party. Even if the party’s loss at the Assembly elections are plausible, for Akhilesh might score better in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
On comparison, Rahul Gandhi’s invisible leadership saw downs during the winter session. Not only did the Congress drifted from its motive, it failed to present a strong debate as the Opposition and narrow down to the key problems to the economy caused by demonetisation. Its only success was the session’s washout in both the houses. All this while Rahul chose not to cause an earthquake by speaking in the Parliament. It is painful to see a party with the finest intellects as it leaders failing to perform, de-attaching itself from the aam janata with its elitist image.

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Akhilesh leads Rahul as a politician, but his inability to bring the sea change expected in the state’s economy, crime situation and development may cost him this election. On the ending note, the student that I talked says that she hasn’t yet got her curriculum books as the excuse.

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