Akhilesh Yadav begins 4th year in office in Lucknow

Lucknow, March 15: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who began his fourth year in office on Sunday, appears to have walked out of the overpowering shadow of his father and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Officials say the 41-year-old chief minister is now in command of the country's most populous state -- and its very many issues of governance -- more than ever before.


The government certainly seems to have made infrastructure -- badly needed in the sprawling state -- the centre of its priorities.

The Lucknow Metro Rail, the Agra-Lucknow Expressway and new power sub-stations figure in the success story as the government embarks on a development path.

An international cricket stadium has also come up, and so has an IT City.

But not everything is a success story. Issues such as the government's growing debt, a grim power scenario and deteriorating law and order could still do Akhilesh Yadav in.

It was on March 15, 2012 that Akhilesh Yadav became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, after the Samajwadi Party winning a whopping 224 of the 403 assembly seats.

But the going was not smooth. There were small and big communal clashes. The worst of it happened in August-September 2013 when communal violence in Muzaffarnagar district left over 60 dead and thousands homeless.

That had a major effect on the Lok Sabha election of May 2014. With Muslims, otherwise dedicated to the Samajwadi Party, angry, the party bit the dust.

It won only five of the state's 80 seats, a humiliating show for a ruling party. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a record 71 seats. Two seats went to a BJP ally and two to the Congress.

But the tide again turned within months, with the Samajwadi Party winning eight of the 11 assembly seats that saw by-elections, mainly to fill the seats vacated by BJP legislators who had become MPs.

The opposition is, of course, is unsparing of the Akhilesh Yadav government.

Akhilesh Yadav's rule would be remembered for being in "denial mode, utter confusion and directionless", BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak told IANS.

He added that many welfare schemes had been unceremoniously shut down.

Congress leader Pradip Mathur was more generous, saying "there has been some forward movement (in governance) and serious efforts had been made by the government" to bring the state out of the woods.

Samajwadi Party spokesman and cabinet minister Rajendra Chowdhary, however, credits Akhilesh Yadav for "ushering in an era of serious and sustainable development".

Interestingly, one of the most vocal -- although occasional -- critics of the government is Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has more than once pulled up the chief minister.

"I know what's going on in this government," the senior Yadav once said. "People in power are taking commissions... Always remember that the people never forgive all this."


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