Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are often spoken in the same breath for good, and also for reasons not so good. Both UP and Bihar are two of the country's most populous states in the country. Both are agriculturally rich but industrially they trail behind and the majority of the population in both states is mired in poverty.

If Shivpal Yadav, former Samajwadi Party (SP) strongman and estranged uncle of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is to be believed Bihar was able to witness what it did because the political opposition there is mature. "In UP, the leadership of the opposition party is still immature," Yadav told the media, hinting perhaps that his nephew and political opponent Akhilesh is still immature.

Just like the two states are compared with each other, it is only natural to draw a comparison between the next generation of leadership of the two socialist parties as well. Mulayam Singh founded the SP in UP, and Lalu Prasad Yadav, founded the RJD in Bihar around the same time.

Ever since the 1990s, Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad remain popular politicians responsible for having changed the political landscape of UP and Bihar. Both the senior Yadavs emerged as anti-Congress politicians who challenged the Right Wing ruling party and promised to practice secularism like it should be.

Under their leadership numerous backward castes found an opportunity to participate in mainstream politics. The Yadavs competed with other non-Yadav backward castes and Dalit electorates led by the likes of Kanshiram and Mayawati in UP, and Ramvilas Paswan in Bihar.

Akhilesh (49) is the older son of Mulayam Singh now 82 years old. Tejashwi (33) is the youngest child of Lalu Prasad, now 74 years old. Both Akhilesh and Tejaswi are popular with a large section of the youth and crowds find them attentive to the problems faced by voters.

The two are as different as chalk and cheese but often seem as thick as thieves.

Born in 1989, Tejashwi is considerably younger than the 1973 born Akhilesh. Akhilesh gives the impression of being somewhat arrogant, and perhaps even a little ashamed of belonging to a backward caste, while Tejashwi is more grounded and down to earth.

Both the boys have been 'gifted' political leadership by their respective fathers who also have some similarities but are also quite different from each other.

What the younger Yadavs Akhilesh and Tejashwi also have in common is the socialist legacy inherited by them from their elders, as interpreted by freedom fighter and socialist political leader Ram Manohar Lohia. By 2012 and 2015 the political legacy of the two 'papa' Yadavs was handed down to the sons.

While the main opponent of Akhilesh ever since he arrived on the political landscape of UP seem to be Dalits, Tejashwi is combating with all his might the ruling party which is an organisation mostly of Right Wing, feudal so called upper castes and upwardly mobile members of the backward castes.

Akhilesh is an environmental and civil engineer. He loves to read and is technology savvy. Akhilesh was head of the youth wing of the SP when he inspired the youth to use computers and to learn English. As Chief Minister of UP in 2012, he was part of all the projects including the metro, the express highways and the revival of the many lakes lost to builders. Akhilesh wants to include entrepreneurs and corporates in government projects while Tejashwi keeps the corporate world at arms length.

Although not as educated as Akhilesh, Tejashwi is intuitively intelligent. As Bihar's deputy Chief Minister and minister of roads between 2015 and 2017, he had impressed many professionals with his inputs. Tejashwi is more Congress friendly than Akhilesh but both feel that the Congress is not respectful enough of regional parties like their own. Akhilesh prefers a coalition with smaller parties in the state. His relationship with the Congress Party is as roughshod as his father's.

However, both Akhilesh and Tejashwi have a common foe called the ruling party. While Akhilesh needs to bring into his fold many more non Yadav voters, including Dalits, Tejashwi need not alienate all upper castes from his camp. The other quality shared by Akhilesh and Tejashwi is that both are madly in love with their respective wives!

The love that both the younger Yadavs exude in their private, and public life in these times of induced fear and hate is the most precious aspect of both personalities. This is highly valued by many citizens in both UP and Bihar.

The Vulnerable Dalit Women

The state of 80 million Dalit women is lower than the lowest in the state today. Women continue to fear sexual abuse. Dalit women comprise about 16 percent of India's female population and face a triple burden of gender bias, caste discrimination and economic deprivation. They are a victim of the cultures, structures and institutions of oppression.

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are home to the highest number of cases of violence against women. They also report the highest number of cases of sexual assault against girls and more than half of the cases of atrocities are against Dalits.

The Centre for Dalit Rights group examined 100 incidents of sexual violence against Dalit women and girls across 16 districts in India between 2004 and 2013 and found that 46% of the victims were below 18 years and 85% were less than 30 years old. The perpetrators of the violence came from 36 different castes, including Dalit.

One of the reasons why Dalit women bear the brunt of increasing violence against them is because they have started to speak up. In the Bilkis Bano rape case, Professor Roop Rekha Varma, activist Subhashini Ali, film maker Revati Laul and Member of Parliament Mahua Moitra have filed petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the release of 11 convicts on Independence Day.

The upper castes are angered at the increasing assertion by women and they strike back whenever they can. Much of the violence in society is a reminder to all those citizens not favoured by the rich and the powerful to not cross boundaries.