Leadership: What CM Akhilesh can learn from Captain Dhoni

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A set-up can work only if its leader can to act freely without any pressure on him. But that is something which hasn't clicked in Uttar Pradesh, where communal clashes have refused to die down. The ruling Samajbadi Party (SP) has faced flak from all quarters, the Opposition, media, Centre and Governor for failing to arrest the continuing communal tension in the state since it took power early last year.

Why the CM allows interference and defiance?

The state administration is in doldrums. Honest officers who try to take on vested interests are being harassed by arrogant authorities, who surrender timidly when communal confrontation threaten the stability. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is seen interfering in the functioning of the state administration to guide his clueless son Akhilesh, who is the chief minister while a senior minister like Azam Khan is seen openly criticising the administration for the riots.

Should a chief minister allow such open interference and criticism, even if it is his father? The problem with Akhilesh is that without any prior experience, the task of managing a sensitive state like UP is too much of an ask for him. The leader looks like a new cherry being planted on a stale cake, which actually makes things little different.

Akhilesh had taken actions with due purpose but couldn't withstand the challenge

In 2012, when Akhilesh's party won a massive mandate and his opponent Rahul Gandhi was mocked at for failing to revive the Congress's chances in its lost bastion, nobody had imagined what was waiting for the state. And now, when the fears have come true, there is an urgency to reassess Akhilesh's leadership.

What role is Akhilesh's young team playing now?

The first question that comes to the mind at this hour of acute crisis for UP is that what has Akhilesh's team of youth leaders done to improve the situation on the ground? The brigade comprising Naved Siddiqui, Rajeev Rai, Abhishek Mishra, Ashis Yadav and others who had helped Akhilesh win the 2012 elections and convinced everybody about the ability of the young chief minister in harnessing youth power more effectively than Rahul Gandhi has not been heard much over the riots.

It was said that some of Akhilesh's men made an extreme effort to understand the pulse of the real Uttar Pradesh and helped the party to chalk out a poll strategy that had paid off. Are they making any similar effort now? Even if they are doing, why it is so late?

Akhilesh Yadav might have just missed the trick after he won the polls and bagged the crown. It is generally seen that whenever a fresh leadership takes stance, whether be it in business, politics or sports, a new generation is preferred over the old guards for it is more compatible with the temperament of the new leadership. Should Akhilesh have done the same and not lead a government featuring entrenched people, including a remotely connected Mulayam Singh Yadav?

A lesson to learn from Captain Cool Dhoni?

He might have taken a cue from India's cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in this regard. The latter had effected a transition in the team by backing new players and in the process, saw the back of a number of veterans well past their prime, thereby building a fresh lot which began to deliver after a point of time. He withstood criticism but remained unmoved and all the brickbats turned into bouquets once the results started to show. But the UP chief minister somehow could not get rid of the influential power centres in the party and the government and was found wanting in a number of cases when he needed to come up with a strong call.

It is not that Akhilesh didn't act but he failed to withstand pressure

It has been seen that Akhilesh had acted with due purpose while taking some key administrative decisions but ultimately could not pass the test of leadership. But when such vulnerability of the chief executive of the state poses a threat to the very survival of the people who had brought him to power to see a change, then the sympathy factor ceases to exist.

A new leadership in an old system will always find it difficult to balance but there must be a beginning somewhere. Can Akhilesh mark the beginning of the process that could take ages to complete? History looks for an answer from him.

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