Hazratganj is central Lucknow’s busiest crossing. It is here that the grand building of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha is located.
The battle to enter the premises of the assembly has begun in full swing in India’s most populous, and politically significant state.
UP’s key political parties operate in offices close to the assembly.
Over the next eight months, these offices will become the hub of political activity. The meetings and the decisions taken here will determine the next verdict, and the future of almost 200 million people for the next five years.
The Akhilesh factor
On Vikramaditya Marg, the Samajwadi Party office is abuzz with activity. Ministers step out of official cars with their red beacons. Supplicants and party workers wait in the lawns for their turn. Many predict the party will return to power.
But beneath the bluster, the party knows it is facing a huge challenge.
If it has one thing going for it, it remains chief minister Akhikesh Yadav’s image Across the state, there appears to be a huge amount of goodwill for the leader. A businessman in Lucknow says, “His sincerity cannot be doubted. He listens, he tries to solve problems, and he is interested in development.” An official who has worked with him closely says, “If we even ask him about politics, he says let us not waste time but discuss something more constructive. That is why there is dissatisfaction but no aggressive resentment against the government.”
For an electorate that has primarily participated in the politics of identity of Mulayam Singh, Mayawati and Kalyan Singh, Akhikesh is a whiff of fresh air. The government has also worked on welfare schemes, which seem under-appreciated in public commentary.