akhilesh: Will Akhilesh’s Plan Of ‘man-to-man Marking’ Help Sp Score On Poll Turf? | Lucknow News – Times of India


LUCKNOW: Man-to-man marking, a strategy generally used in soccer or hockey, is being adopted by Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav to counter the BJP in UP assembly elections.
Incidentally, Akhilesh Yadav himself is a known football enthusiast. Unlike in sports, the use of this strategy in politics may have its shortcomings but can also fetch desirable results in elections.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been roping in disgruntled or influential leaders from opposition parties, the SP president has also succeeded in bringing leaders from other parties, including the Congress, BJP and BSP.
Political analysts believe that Akhilesh is working on a two-pronged strategy to forge an alliance with smaller parties with an amicable seat-sharing formula and to bring in leaders who have their own voter base as an add-on to the SP’s loyal votebank. The second tactic is the political version of ‘man-to-man marking’ adopted in field hockey or football.
Akhilesh has been able to forge an alliance with smaller parties which have good support in a couple of castes, especially the OBCs. Political analysts believe that the idea is to create a caste combination in such a way that it could throw a strong challenge to the BJP. One such example is the SP alliance with BJP’s former ally and ex-minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, Om Prakash Rajbhar, who heads the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP).
Experts believe that the SP claims to enjoy the support of Yadavs and Muslims, and if Rajbhars also vote in favour of SP, or vice versa, the SP could benefit on a number of seats.
Similar is the case with the alliance between the SP and the Jayant Chaudhary-led Rashtriya Lok Dal which may influence the result in the west UP region.
SP’s approach in forging an alliance with smaller parties is similar to BJP’s joining hands with NISHAD Party chief Dr Sanjay Nishad and Apna Dal(S) president Anupriya Patel.
However, the add-ons which Akhilesh has been eyeing may change the political situation in at least another 3-4 dozen seats. For the last one year, Akhilesh has been bringing in leaders from other parties who have their own voter base ranging from 10,000-25,000.
A senior leader of the Samajwadi Party said the vote base of such leaders would serve as an add-on. “The crowd coming to attend Akhilesh’s rally in various parts of the state is a testimony to increasing popularity of the SP and how people are fed up with the BJP,” he said.
Another SP leader said for the last one year, many political heavyweights of other parties joined the party as they knew that it was the SP which was in the position to take on the BJP.
Prominent leaders who have joined the SP in the past include former Congress MP from Unnao Annu Tandon, former Congress MLA from West UP Pankaj Mallik, and former BSP leaders Indrajeet Saroj and Qadir Rana.
According to sources in the party, Ankit Parihar, who is said to be close to former Congress MP from Unnao, is vying for an SP ticket from Unnao Sadar or Bhagwant Nagar. They added if he contests the election, he could also get the support of Tandon’s existing votebase as well as the SP’s vote bank.
Similarly, if Saroj contests from Kaushambi, his own votebase could add to SP’s votebank, sources claimed.
Recently, over a dozen BSP MLAs, including influential leaders Ramachal Rajbhar and Lalji Varma, have joined hands with Akhilesh.
While SP leaders believe that the support base of these leaders would add to the party’s existing votes, experts are of the view that in politics two plus two is not always four and one should wait for results instead of jumping the gun.
The strategy has its flip side too. Ticket aspirants within the SP are jittery as they don’t know who will get the ticket –the loyal workers or the outsiders? Will man-to-man marking work in Akhilesh’s favour? Only time will tell.

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