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  India   Politics  01 Mar 2017  UP polls: In crisis, Dimple turns SP’s star vote-catcher

UP polls: In crisis, Dimple turns SP’s star vote-catcher

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 1, 2017, 3:57 am IST
Updated : Mar 1, 2017, 7:04 am IST

When the alliance with the Congress was formalized, Akhilesh realized that he had no campaigners left in the party.

Dimple Yadav, wife of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav (Photo: AP)
 Dimple Yadav, wife of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav (Photo: AP)

Lucknow: Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and a paucity of campaigners in the neo-Samajwadi Party has turned Dimple Yadav into a politician, a campaigner and a star - and all this in the past one month.

Dimple Yadav, 39, began her political career in 2009 with a resounding defeat in a by-election in Ferozabad. Three years later, she was elected unopposed from Kannauj, again a seat vacated by her husband and then was re-elected in 2014.

Despite being a two-term MP, Dimple has remained shy and incommunicado to the outside world. Her appearances were restricted to functions with her husband and speeches, if any, were short and simple.

According to family sources, Dimple, however, kept giving inputs to her husband and was the brain behind the nutrition mission and the women power line-a fact that Akhilesh now publicly acknowledges.

Two months ago, when the crisis in the Samajwadi family began intensifying and Akhilesh was almost isolated in his own family, Dimple stepped in. She, and her children, accompanied him on his first Rath Yatra that was held amidst mounting tension in the family and the party.

When the alliance with the Congress was formalized, Akhilesh realized that he had no campaigners left in the party.

“It was clear Mulayam Singh would not campaign. Those who were available for the campaign were not in demand by the candidates. It was then that Dimple agreed to campaign on her own and lessen the burden on her husband’s fragile shoulders”, said a source close to the chief minister.

Dimple began her campaign from Agra and for moral support; she had SP MP Jaya Bachchan by her side. Her speech was short and her voice shaky. Later, she started taking Juhie Singh, a party spokesperson, with her but after about half a dozen meetings, she turned  confident enough to strike out on her own. Though she jots down notes on a paper, Dimple mostly speaks extempore. She has learnt how to pick up issues, interact with the public and lash out at the opposition - she even asked the Prime Minister “mere angne mein aapka kya kaam hai?”

Dimple has faced some rough moments during her campaign. In Allahabad last week, an aggressive crowd walked right up to the podium and kept shouting for the chief minister. A nervous Dimple finally lost her cool and warned “I will tell your Bhaiyya (Akhilesh) about your behavior”. Not that it had any impact on the restive mob but Dimple continued with her speech.

In Jaunpur, this week, she faced a similar situation but this time, she bluntly told the crowd to listen to her.

A close family friend reveals, “She realised that her husband had been left alone after the family acrimony. His colleagues were contesting their own elections and he had no one to fall back on. It was then that she decided to step out of her comfort zone and brave the election fury. Today, Akhilesh is relieved because she is campaigning on her own”.

Her growing popularity can be gauged from the fact that on Monday, BSP president Mayawati, for the first time, referred to Dimple and said, “Even SP’s bhabhi (Dimple) cannot save Babua (an endearment for son) after the elections”.

Tags: dimple yadav, uttar pradesh assembly elections, akhilesh yadav
Location: India, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow