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On day out, Akhilesh Yadav at his charming best

Last updated on: March 31, 2012 23:33 IST

On day out, Akhilesh Yadav at his charming best

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Akhilesh Yadav's first day out as the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh virtually made him feel like a Bollywood star. But during his two-and-a-half hour long stay at the venue of the 'Hindustan Times Woman of the Year' event in Lucknow on Saturday evening, the country's youngest chief minister didn't bother putting up an act.
 
Both the winners and participants were equally enthusiastic, not only about listening to the 38-year-old CM with rapt attention, but about getting his autograph as well. Every participant who walked up to the dais to receive a token memento made it a point to get herself photographed with the chief minister and his wife Dimple, who became yet another star attraction at the jam-packed hall of the five-star hotel.

On being asked what he liked most about the audience, Akhilesh replied, "The expectations displayed by some of the winners." 

Ramman, a 65-year-old illiterate woman, won the Judges Choice of HT woman of the year for encouraging entrepreneurship among  27 women, whom she empowered to earn up to Rs 500 a day in a village near Varanasi.

On a short and crisp note, she said, "Phalo phoolo aur achcha kam karo (Prosper and do good work)". 

Reportage: Sharat Pradhan

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'This is a huge test for me'

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Chanda Rajhbhar, a special invitee in her capacity as the winner of the Judges Choice in 2011 for her crusade against child marriage, quipped, "aise mukhya mantri ke liye log taraste hain (People crave for chief ministers like this)"
 
Akhilesh assured the audience that he would do his best to ensure that their high expectations were not betrayed.

"I know this is a huge test for me; my entire career is ahead of me and I do not have any qualms about admitting that I will be thrown out in case I fail to deliver," he said.

 He talked about how the people of the state had given the Samajwadi Party an overwhelming mandate on the basis of the message of "hope" that the party had sent out during its campaign. 
 
"We gave them hope, therefore my endeavor would be to live up to the aspirations of the people," he said.

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'My government is committed to giving women respect'

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"People have the right to dream. They must dream big because you achieve big only when you dream big," he went on to add amid loud applause.
 
While his wife Dimple wrote the slogan "be proud to be a woman' on the autograph sheet hung outside the venue, Akhilesh emphasised on the need to inculcate respect for women in society.

Lamenting that women were still discriminated against in Indian society, he stated, "More such events would help to give women the parallel position they deserve in society." 

"My government is committed to giving women respect and dignity," he said.
 
At the event, the highest honour was given to an activist who was responsible for saving nearly 450 young girls from being driven into sex trafficking.

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