Even though in hoardings Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav reminds everyone that `Abhi tou eik saal baki hai janab’ (there’s still one year to go), he gave the green signal to the release of the candidates’ list while the aspirants were still lobbying for tickets.
SP leaders see the development as an astute political move by Akhilesh Yadav with several advantages. In politics if you announce candidates early it gives you enough time for back-up plan. Also, the SP is now in a position where other parties have to revise their strategy by matching the caste equations which leads to resentment if any deserving candidate is dropped only to satisfy a caste strategy.
In the list of 142 candidates Akhilesh has changed 85 candidates. These are for seats the SP had lost in 2012. This gives enough time to the candidates to work on their constituencies. The early release of the first list also has given the party ample time to change candidates if necessary– not uncommon for the SP.
The step has given SP enough time to analyse the support for their candidates in the constituencies. Already reports of protests are pouring in from few constituencies.
Since the SP has lost these 142 seats this move indicates that the party appreciates that many of its sitting MLAs may lose so it must be in a position to cover the shortfall by winning new seats. And by declaring 142 seats SP leadership can now focus on the remaining seats which include its winning seats of 2012.
The move is also aimed at countering the Bahujan Samaj Party which is the only party in election mode every day and which has declared its candidates both officially and unofficially in most of the seats. The step aims to put the brakes on political grapevines about a possible tie up between the SP and other parties. The Congress which is now banking on political strategist Prashant Kishore to give shape to a grand alliance will have to revise its strategy.
The SP has declared Mulayam’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav as its candidate from Lucknow Cantt another decision. It is first time that the Yadav family is venturing out of its stronghold of Mainpuri-Etawah to contest a seat it has never won.