With less than a year left for the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has signalled zero tolerance towards corruption and candidates with criminal background. He has sacked many powerful ministers including Rajaram Pandey, Ambika Chowdhry, Narad Rai and Yogesh Pratap Singh and stripped others of plum portfolios. He is not only removing the ‘Dabangs’ from the party and the minister but also creating his own team and on-boarding them as ministers. In last two years, the ‘Team Akhilesh’ members being made ministers. It is obvious from his acts that he is on the go. He is the decision maker. He is clearly out of the shadows of the family politics. He is a mature politician now.

I believe, the series of these events will help Akhilesh Yadav position himself as the messiah against the Mafia Raj, Jangal Raj. It will also help him position himself as someone who has the conviction to stand against them. A leader who is independent of family based politics, cast based politics, and mafia backed politics. A leader who is committed to development, and safety of people.

In my views, Akhilesh Yadav’s decision to contest the 2017 assembly polls in the state alone was kind of a masterstroke. It talks of the confidence on work done and his brand of politics.

Akhilesh Yadav believes he has been focused on the development of Uttar Pradesh and has undertaken many developmental activities but never focused on promoting them. Lately, he realized that it is important to talk about all the good things he has been doing.

Akhilesh Yadav has set about branding himself and his government. Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party at present is focusing on highlighting the achievements of his government by campaigns like Sabka Saathi Akhilesh, Pragati ka Shri Ganesh. He is focusing on the new age media to connect with the youth of Uttar Pradesh ahead of next year’s Assembly polls. The team Lohia Vahini, Samajwadi Party’s frontal organisation has been engaged to project Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as a brand and publicise his achievements.

A close look at his media planning suggest that it is divided into two key segments, first aggressive media reach through radio and TV, online channels, social media for the media active urban and semi-urban markets and second, to reach media dark markets with SMS campaigns and on-ground vans with LED screens. Akhilesh Yadav has also understood power of new age media and hence he is focusing on it with all aggression. The government has news360.com – a website dedicated to news relating to the state government, a state-of-the-art social media monitoring system, active state government’s YouTube channel, Twitter handle, and Facebook  Page.

Akhilesh Yadav, who believes that he has undertaken many development works but have not promoted them (Kaam mein aagey hain, prachar mein peeche). Is now committed to positive communication and branding. I strongly believe that this realization will help him strengthen his position.