Lucknow: Hundreds of jubilant supporters splashed Holi colour on each other Tuesday and cheered and danced as former wrestler and Hanuman devotee Mulayam Singh Yadav led the Samajwadi Party to victory in Uttar Pradesh.
Falling only marginally short of the halfway mark in the 403-member assembly, the party was tipped to win nearly 200 seats as it raced swiftly ahead of its three main rivals.
An hour after results began pouring in from across the sprawling and populous state, there were celebrations outside the Samajwadi Party office on Vikramaditya Marg here.
Mulayam Singh Yadav had clearly proved lucky again, backed in good measure by his suave and urbane son Akhilesh Yadav who went out of his way to change the party's rustic and tainted image.
Party supporters, leaders, a large crop of lawyers, hordes of women as well as passers-by and the physically challenged made a beeline for the Samajwadi office and danced to drum beats.
Many smeared each other with Holi 'gulaal' of all hues. A small group of men held aloft a bicycle -- the Samajwadi election symbol.
Party flags, bearing the pictures of Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh, fluttered all over Vikramaditya Marg.
The most popular slogans included "Jiska Jalwa Kayam hai, Uska Naam Mulayam hai" (Whose kingdom is thriving, His name is Mulayam) and "Desh ki Shaan Mulayam Singh" (The pride of the nation is Mulayam Singh).
A large number of beaming lawyers were spotted in the crowd. A contingent of burly Sikhs broke into a jig every now and then.
A few metres away, hectic activity picked up at the house of the Yadavs where security was spruced up.
A mini army of supporters mobbed Akhilesh, crowning him with a red cloth turban. A beaming Akhilesh quickly removed it and handed it over to an aide.
The Lucknow Development Authority has begun sprucing up the sprawling Lohia park in Gomtinagar, named after Mulayam Singh's mentor Ram Manohar Lohia.
The park had fallen on bad times since the BSP stormed to power five years ago and Mayawati focussed on erecting statues of Dalit icons -- and herself -- and those of elephants, her party symbol.
Offices of the BSP and Congress on Mall Avenue and of the BJP on the Vidhan Sabha Marg bore deserted looks with only a handful of office bearers turning up.