Akhilesh has embarked on a Vikas Rath Yatra on Thursday atop a modified Mercedes bus from Lucknow in his first show of strength after the Yadav family feud with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav.
The yatra theme is “Vikas Se Vijay ki Ore (from development to victory)” and thousands of vehicles are likely to join the 43-year-old chief minister.
Since the yatra is happening amid a power struggle between Mulayam-Shivpal on one side and Akhilesh and the young leaders on the other, a major show of strength is lately on the cards, leading to huge chaos.
“We expect more than 20,000 small and big vehicles to tail the Rath of our dear Bhaiyya ji (as Akhilesh is fondly called by his supporters) and the convoy could be more than 35-km long,” said his enthusiastic supporters.
The red-colour Mercedes bus has the images of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Chief Minister himself, socialist ideologues Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jnaneshwar Mishra, his uncle Shivpal’s picture is seen neither on the vehicle nor elsewhere.
The bus also has pictures of the flagship schemes of the state government – Agra-Lucknow Expressway, Free Laptop Scheme and 1090 Women helpline.
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The 37-foot-long and 15-foot tall bus has all the facilities like Wi-Fi connection, telephone connectivity, a small wash room, a mini-war room and a motorised platform, which will be propelled up by a hydraulic shaft that will bring Akhilesh out of the bus, face to face with the people.
In the first phase, he will venture out from the La Martinere Boys College in Lucknow, and after covering more than 75 km will conclude at the stadium in Shuklaganj, Unnao.
The chief minister will end the Vikas Yatra the same evening and return to Lucknow. He will restart his Rath Yatra again on 7 November, after attending the silver jubilee gala of the Samajwadi Party on 5 November.