UP Elections 2017: In a rather bizarre twist to the ongoing election saga in Uttar Pradesh, the Hindi heartland of India, the SP (Samajwadi Party) leader and CM Akhilesh Yadav has launched a new version of salt, the ‘Samajwadi’ salt. Common doubly fortified and iodized salt that is standard all over the country is now an election commodity that comes in the wake of such trophies offered by the SP like the ‘Samajwadi’ pension, the ‘Samajwadi’ laptop and smart phone and the Samajwadi ambulance. This is almost certainly an election gimmick.
As the elections draw nearer, the heat is all the way up in UP Polls 2017, the state which sends the largest number of parliamentarians in our country. The BJP is also giving neck and neck competition to the SP after the former’s renewed focus on the temple issue in Ayodhya. The move is surprisingly reminiscent of Tamil Nadu CM and AIADMK Jayalalitha’s tactics; she too had launched ‘Amma Salt’ and then the ‘Amma meal’ where one can get a sumptuous meal of Idlis in under 5 rupees. The schemes are named after Jayalalitha’s common nickname. One must also remember that the Amma Salt is meant for the poor voter at an affordable rate and is made by the Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation (TNSC). The taxpayer, therefore pays for the entire scheme.
According to just-emerging reports, the UP CM seems to do a repeat of what the Southern heavyweight did all the way back in 2014. The phrases ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘son of the soil’ are often interlinked and Akhilesh Yadav knows that well. As does SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. Before the UP Polls 2017, the Yadav clan has had a history of infighting in the party, with rivalries between Ram Gopal Yadav and the CM’s other uncles. The SP will look to overcome that.
On the other hand, the BJP is focussing on development as its trump card. The BJP chief Amit Shah has said so implicitly. The SP seems to aim for the ‘pro-poor’ tag. The others in the race for the UP CM’s post include the BSP as well as the Congress party, who are looking to project Priyanka Gandhi soon as their campaign face in the UP Polls 2017.