UP ELECTIONS 2017 – Prime Minister Narendra Modi out-campaigned all-comers in the 2014 general election but, as he faces his biggest mid-term test, he is up against a rival determined to beat him at his own game.
In Uttar Pradesh his opponent, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, has been repackaged as a youthful and media-savvy go-getter who seeks to steal a unique selling point of Modi’s – development.
“I am taking it a bit beyond Modi: I work,” Yadav told Reuters in an interview in Lucknow, capital of the state of 220 million that is holding the biggest democratic election anywhere in the world this year.
“My work speaks for itself. Modi’s empty promises do not,” said the 43-year-old leader of the Samajwadi, or Socialist, Party.
Yadav entered the vast election, being held over the course of a month, as a narrow favourite: He had just emerged from a power struggle with his domineering father and struck a pre-poll alliance with the Indian National Congress.
While Modi excels as a stump speaker who can deliver an hour-long address without notes, Akhilesh has sought to connect with the youth vote via new media, taking personal control over his social media accounts and doing a Facebook Live with one of India’s best-known TV journalists. READ MORE