Lucknow: The sprawling 5, Kalidas Marg residence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhikesh Yadav opened for his party loyalists on Sunday morning as the 38-year-old Samajwadi Party (SP) leader broke bread with young party leaders and thanked them for all the hard work they put in during the elections.
Right from the lavish spread of Indian food - chole bhature, poori-sabzi, food for fasting persons owing to Navratri, chilled fruit lassi, kesar jalebi and rabri - ordered from a private caterer and the red and green sports caps bearing the party insignia, it was a day for the workers and supporters to cherish as the chief minister mingled with them and gave them personal attention.
Personally thanking party workers who spent days with him on the Kranti Rath - the vehicle on which Akhilesh Yadav toured as many as 300 Assembly constituencies in the run up to the polls, Yadav told them that soon there would be prosperity all over the state and people will feel the change in guard at Lucknow.
Obliging party workers with photo ops, accepting gifts ranging from toy bicycle to an earthern pot of fresh homemade curd brought by a rustic party worker, the chief minister obliged all. The only request he made to them was to maintain discipline and to ensure that party`s image was not tainted by their overzealousness. In between instructions to the officials on duty, he was at home with young workers, calling them by name and chiding some overzealous ones for reminding him of their names.
"Arre main kya tumko nahin janta, main tumhare se do baar mil chuka hoon" (Why are you reminding me of your name again and again, I know who you are and have met you twice) he told a young party worker. Patiently listening to complaints of "oppression" by the Mayawati regime, he asked them to be patient and assured them that justice would be done.
When the young workers were done, he personally called his security personnel - calling them his very own SPG, and posed with them. The driver of the Kranti Rath, the former programming head of a radio station Naved, some camera men were also called by Yadav to get photographed with him.
Trying to discipline the exited party workers, who walked in awe, gazing at the huge chief minister`s residence, Akhilesh sought time from party workers "to settle down with governance" and promised that he "would then on remain available for everyone".
With thanksgiving over for the "inner core team", the chief minister walked into the private space of his official bungalow. The women of the family, led by wife Dimple Yadav had meanwhile performed the `Grah Pravesh` (house warming) puja and propitiated the gods at a given time.
Joined by party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, wife Dimple, kids Aditi, Tina and Arjun, uncle Shivpal Singh Yadav, the chief minister then took a round of the house, which Mulayam Singh exclaimed "had changed completely since he stayed there five years back as UP`s chief minister".
Former chief minister Mayawati had completely redone the official chief minister`s residence. To close family members and select family friends present inside, `charnamrat` (prasad made of honey, Ganga jal, dry furits, curd and milk) was served as the first family retired for rest.