Indian Express

Akhilesh’s youth brigade in line of fire

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Akhilesh Yadav Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party’s youth leaders, who were projected as the force behind the party’s success in the 2012 assembly elections, are now facing the wrath of senior leaders for their role in the Lok Sabha elections.

SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav is learnt to have asked Akhilesh to review their performance.
Akhilesh is the state president of SP and in-charge of four frontal youth organisations of the party — Lohia Vahini, Mulayam Singh Youth Brigade, Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha and Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha.
Members of these four organisations remain in direct touch with him — something that does not go down well with senior leaders.

Prominent among those who face the axe is Amitabh Bajpayee, the former president of Mulayam Singh Youth Brigade, who was last seen cycling from Delhi to Lucknow during the party’s rally before polls. Several ministers reported that Bajpayee visited them regularly but did not show up during campaigning.

Pradeep Tiwari from Kanpur, who was appointed state president of Lohia Vahini, was criticised for flaunting his connection with the CM. “Tiwari has a group of 10-15 boys who, during any function, seat themselves at strategic points to project him as a leader,” said a senior SP functionary.

Tiwari, too, allegedly could not develop a statewide organisation of Lohia Vahini whose members dress up in red shirts and black pants.

Then there is Atul Pradhan, the Gurjar youth leader from Meerut who was appointed state president of Samajwadi Chatra Sabha despite reports of having a tainted image and losing the assembly elections in 2012. “He always moved around with boys with painted bodies. They would reach every function with placards to show his clout but at the ground level he was an utter failure,” a minister from western UP told The Sunday Express.

Rajpal Kashyap, who was given minister of state status with his appointment as Chairman of Fisheries Development Corporation, did not click as a leader among Most Backward Class (MBC) either. It was on Kashyap’s demand that Akhilesh had declared April 5 a holiday to mark the birth anniversary of Nishadraj. Projecting him as an MBC face, the CM had also announced inclusion of 17 MBCs in the scheduled castes list.

Raja Chaturvedi, who has now been stripped of the minister of state status, was ignored even as he was projected as a young brahmin face.

Nirbhay Patel, who was appointed as state president of Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha. too had little work to show during the polls. He was hardly seen during campaigning.

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