As the face of the Samajwadi Party in the 2012 Uttar Pradesh election, he led the Yadavs to power. Ahead of the 2017 polls, the war among the Yadavs over who will be face of the party threatens to sweep Akhilesh Yadav out of power.
On Monday, over a slice of chocolate cake baked for his birthday by older daughter Timsy, the 43-year-old Chief Minister deftly side-stepped controversies and said: “I am like a horse with blinkers starting a race. I don’t see anything but the coming polls.”
His special campaign rath or chariot – a repurposed bus – will roll out from November 3 and, in the run-up to polls next year, cover a few thousand kilometres.
Key accessories to the campaign are a slickly-produced video and an audio, both very unlike Samajwadi Party style.