The man who gave SP a new face,and fresh lifehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/the-man-who-gave-sp-a-new-face-and-fresh-life/

The man who gave SP a new face,and fresh life

After his return to India in 1999,he planned to take up environmental engineering as his profession.

When Akhilesh Yadav,38,is sworn in on Thursday,he will be youngest chief minister of Uttar Pradesh,breaking the record of Mayawati,who first became chief minister at the age of 39 in 1993. It will be a fitting accomplishment for someone who is widely touted as the Samajwadi Party’s new — and young — face.

Born on July 1,1973,Akhilesh completed his early schooling from the Sainik School at Dholpur in Rajasthan. He later got an engineering degree from Mysore University,and did his masters in environmental engineering from the University of Sydney in Australia.

After his return to India in 1999,he planned to take up environmental engineering as his profession. But his father,Mulayam Singh Yadav,had other plans,and asked Akhilesh to contest the Kannauj parliamentary bypolls in 2000. Mulayam had vacated the seat as he had won from Mainpuri also. Akhilesh won the bypolls,and later won the seat again in 2004 and 2009.

In June 2009,he took over the reins as state party president,after having been in charge of the party’s frontal organisations like the Lohia Vahini,Chatra Sabha,Youth Brigade and Yuvjan Sabha. He ushered in many changes in the party set-up,including introducing interviews for ticket seekers and giving the party a “modern” face.

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Regarded as the architect of the SP’s victory,Akhilesh re-defined the party’s strategy by shedding its anti-English and anti-computer image. While the SP is now on social networking sites,Akhilesh himself is known to be very tech-savvy,often seen with his Blackberry and iPad. The party’s election manifesto promised free computers and laptops to students.

In the run-up to the elections,Akhilesh launched his Kranti Rath Yatra in September last year,touring the state and addressing over 250 meetings. This was similar to the Kranti Rath Yatra undertaken by Mulayam in 1987,which culminated in Mulayam’s election as chief minister in 1989.

Known to be a football fan,Akhilesh is often seen at the stadium when he visits Saifai in Etawah. He is also said to be a keen follower of tennis and cricket. And recently,he has found a new sport — flying remote-operated toy planes at his bungalow at Vikramaditya Marg.

Akhilesh and wife Dimple have three children — Aditi and twins Arjun and Teena. While his family members still call him by his nickname,Tipu,he is “Bhaiyya” to the rest. When he first entered the electoral battlefield in Kannauj,party workers coined a new slogan for him — “Cycle ka button daba do,Tipu ko sultan bana do”.

Akhilesh has roped in some of his old friends in his team,while he keeps in touch with the others. With a passion for travelling,he was reportedly in the US in 2009 when Mulayam said he should be thrown out of the party as he was enjoying himself while the people of UP were suffering under Mayawati’s rule.

While he is known to have a weakness for designer suits,he is only seen in a white khadi kurta pyjama now.

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