UP polls to be litmus test for young scions

Lucknow: The coming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh would turn out to be a litmus test for many scions of political families, including Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi and his cousin BJP`s Varun Gandhi. The "yuvrajs" in the fray include son of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ajit Singh`s son Jayant Chaudhary.

After his party`s bitter defeat in Bihar elections, UP polls have become a prestige issue for Rahul. Similarly, it is no less than a battle for Mulayam`s son Akhilesh to ensure victory of SP in the elections. In such a situation there is a strong possibility of high-voltage contest between two young turks. Though BJP has not opened its card yet, party sources said that it would field Varun Gandhi in its poll campaign to attract youth voters.

Ajit Singh led RLD has though forged an alliance with Congress, Jayant would have the task of improving party`s chance in its stronghold western UP. According to ECI records of more than 12 crore electorates in UP, around 25 per cent (more than 4 crore) are young electorates in the age group of 18 to 30 years. "Of this around 53 lakh voters, who are 18 years of age, will exercise their franchise for the first time," a senior officer said.

The major task before all the political parties would be to tap the youth voters. To ensure a victory for Congress, which had been out of power for nearly 22 years, Rahul had been making effort since long in the state. Rahul started his election campaign from Bhatta Parsaul in Gautam Buddha Nagar which witnessed violent clashes between police and farmers. Since then he has been touring length and breadth of the state attacking non-Congress governments in the state for poor state of affairs and making corruption as a major poll-plank of the party.

Challenges are not less for SP state president Akhilesh Yadav, who has literally taken reins of poll campaign of the party in his hands. Much ahead of the poll dates were announced Akhilesh had launched his Kranti Rath Yatra to vow the voters and mobilise the party cadre. "The yatra launched in September has completed eight rounds and Akhilesh will become more active in days to come," he said. The SP state president had been very cautious in selection of candidates therefore the party had changed its candidates at a number of places since the first list was announced.