Lucknow | Jagran News Desk: The upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh – India’s biggest state by population which sends 80 members to Lok sabha – are significant enough to determine the electoral trajectory of Indian democracy for immediate future. Set to take place just two years before PM Narendra Modi-led BJP will seek a third term at Centre, the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly polls are a ‘do-or-die’ battle for leaders whose political fortunes are derived primarily (if not mostly) from Uttar Pradesh.

Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister succeeded by Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow in 2017, has emerged as the only primary face challenging UP Chief Minister to deny him the second term.

Having positioned himself as the main challenger to the ruling BJP, Akhilesh has single-handedly stitched up alliances (most notably with Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal) and even selected candidates. The credit –or the blame – of the SP performance in the 2022 elections will, therefore, fall squarely on Akhilesh Yadav’s shoulders.

Jayant Chaudhary

Jayant Chaudhary, president of the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), is also facing a make-or-break battle in the UP elections. This is the first time that he is independently leading his party into elections after the demise of his father Chaudhary Ajit Singh. Jayant has the advantage of being the sole political beneficiary of the year-long farmers' agitation and his political handling of the election scenario could revive his party that has been languishing in the sidelines for long. Riding on its alliance with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, the RLD performs as per expectation in these elections, Jayant will be able to establish himself as the undisputed political leader of the Jats, especially in Western Uttar Pradesh.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been the only active face of Congress party, like her brother Rahul Gandhi was in 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls – when Akhilesh Yadav had dethroned Mayawati in Lucknow – and is in-charge of party’s state unit. With the first phase of voting in Uttar Pradesh less than a month away, the Congress General Secretary is still reportedly finalising the poll strategy, while determining the selection of candidates and also the mood of the campaign.

Her campaign for women and 40 per cent reservation for them in party tickets may have created a buzz in state politics but whether it will reap benefits for the Congress remains to be seen. The Congress has also been losing leader after leader to other parties and this has left the cadres rather demoralised.

If the Congress fails to achieve the desired results in these elections, it will be Priyanka's second failure after 2019 when she had taken charge of UP and Rahul Gandhi lost his Amethi seat to BJP’s Smriti Irani.

Mayawati

These elections are extremely crucial for Mayawati, president of the Bahujan Samaj Party. The BSP, despite having 10 members in Lok sabha, is at its lowest ebb and Mayawati's unexplained absence from the campaign has demoralised the cadres. If the BSP fails to get a decent number of seats, it could further isolate the party in Uttar Pradesh and put Mayawati in an uncomfortable position.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma