Lucknow: With an eye on Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections 2017, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will embark on his 'Vikas Rath Yatra' on Thursday.
However, utter confusion prevails in ruling Samajwadi Party camp over presence of party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his brother Shivpal Yadav when Akhilesh embarks on his highly-publicised 'Rath Yatra' today.
Lakhs of youths are expected to participate in the yatra, which will prove to be the turning point of politics. At every halt, Akhilesh will be welcomed by youths, farmers, minority and he will also address the gathering.
The yatra's focus is to establish a new identity of Akhilesh "leadership" and help in ensuriing success for 2017 assembly polls.
All schools in the state capital and Unnao have been shut owing to the "VVIP movement", which is all set to bring the state capital and the Lucknow-Kanpur highway to a grinding halt.
A lot of arrangements have been made by Team Akhilesh for the success of the yatra, in which besides video titled 'Kam Bolta Hai' (Work speaks), showing the CM working tirelessly will also be shown.
Arrangements are being made to ensure huge success of the yatra, amidst family tussle to establish Akhilesh as "indisputed" political heir of SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Akhilesh is set to embark on the yatra atop a modified Mercedes bus from Lucknow.
While 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.
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 November 7, after attending the silver jubilee gala of the Samajwadi Party on November 5.
The divided Yadav clan
The Yadav family has been a divided house with Akhilesh and Ram Gopal Yadav on one side and Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh on the other.
The supporters of both Akhilesh and Shivpal factions are keeping an eye on the development and the entire route of yatra is dotted with hoardings, banners and colourful arches to welcome the 'Vikas Sey Vijay Tak' rath yatra starting from here.
A cavalcade of over 5,000 SUVs and trucks will seek to send a message to the party leadership that 43-year-old Akhilesh is the "most acceptable" face of SP.
The pro-CM camp, which has expelled SP leaders, is working overtime to make it one of the biggest political shows of recent times, coming close on the heels of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's month-long Deoria-to-Delhi 'kisan yatra'.
Shivpal had recently blamed his estranged cousin Ram Gopal Yadav for Samajwadi Party's decision to walk out of the alliance in Bihar.
Ram Gopal, a Rajya Sabha member, has been backing Akhilesh in his fight against Shivpal. Ram Gopal was recently sacked from the party amid escalating tension between the rival camps.
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) presented a united picture on Thursday as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav embarked on the first phase of the 'Samajwadi Vikas Path Yatra'.