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Home > News > Report

A tale of two 'bahus' in Uttar Pradesh

Sharat Pradhan in Allahabad | May 01, 2007 21:44 IST

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Claiming their respective family bonds with this city, two prominent women -- one a top politician of the country and the other a Bollywood celebrity --  simultaneously sought support of the local electorate  to boost the prospects of their respective parties at the forthcoming polls in the sixth phase of the staggered Uttar Pradesh assembly election.

While Congress president Sonia Gandhi sought to strike her emotional chord with the audience at a well-attended rally in Allahabad on Monday evening, earlier in the day it was actress Jaya Bachchan who left no stone unturned to impress upon a lukewarm crowd that she was the real 'bahu' (daughter-in-law) of the city, seeking support for the Samajwadi Party.

The Congress president recalled her 'five-generation' old link with the city, while the Bollywood star-turned-latest mascot of Mulayam Singh Yadav's party went about emphasising that she had a stringer bond with Allahabad.

Jaya, whose husband Amitabh Bachchan had been busy propagating Mulayam's rule as 'heaven on earth,' did not like the idea of being compared to Sonia as far as the 'bahu' status was concerned.

Doing her best to impress upon the crowds, she said, "Today, as I come here to seek your support for the Samajwadi Party, I am sure you will not disappoint a 'bahu' who has rarely asked you for anything."

When media persons asked Jaya about what she felt about the 'other bahu,' who too was staking claim to their support on the same strength, she said, "Let me tell you that my husband was born in Allahabad whereas her husband was not born here."

On the other hand, Sonia sought to recall the traditional association of the Nehru-Gandhi clan with 'the soul of this city.'

In an emotionally-charged note, she quipped, "I cannot think of our family without Allahabad; if it were not for Allahabad, I would not have been there at all."

Sonia's mother-in-law Indira Gandhi, her father Jawaharlal Nehru and his father Moti Lal Nehru lived in Allahabad for years. Their induction in India's freedom movement took place on this soil.

As for Jaya, her husband Amitabh was born here and her father-in-law Harivansh Rai

Bachchan was a highly-acclaimed Hindi poet with his roots in this city.

Earlier, while addressing two rallies at Karchana and Handia, Jaya said, "I am not only 'bahu' of this city but of Mulayam Singh Yadav's Uttar Pradesh, where people respect and love not only their daughters but also daughters-in-law."

"I have always got your love and affection in the past and I am confident that you will not let me down this time," she added in the same vein.

In an obvious defence of a much criticised Amitabh's advertisement describing UP as

Uttam Pradesh (supreme state), Jaya said, "My husband did not say that there is no crime here; all he meant to emphasise was that there was less crime here than so many other states in the country -- a fact borne out by an official report tabled in Parliament as well.'

Ironically, in an earlier poll rally convened by Mulayam Singh Yadav in this town, Jaya shared dais the candidate's brother Atiq Ahmed -- a notorious gangster-turned-lawmaker, whose name spells terror in this entire region.