Photographs: Sandip Pal Mona Parthasarathi in Kannauj
Coming from the 'first family' of Uttar Pradesh politics has not always been a cakewalk for Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple, who is trying to shed the dynasty politics product tag and is banking on her "personal" rapport for a win in this seat in Thursday's poll.
The electoral debut of the daughter-in-law of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav was unsuccessful when she lost the by-election for Firozabad in 2009 against actor-turned politician Raj Babbar. She was then elected unopposed from Kannauj to the Lok Sabha in 2012, after her husband vacated the seat to enter the Uttar Pradesh legislative council.
On allegations faced by the Yadavs of promoting dynasty politics, she said that being from a political family doesn't vmean that one can escape without performing.
"It is not only about SP, it is in every party. I agree that you get a proper base if you come from a political family but after that you have to put in your own efforts and hard work to take it forward.
"You have to perform to sustain and there is an added pressure as people expect more from you and you are under constant supervision," 36-year-old Dimple told PTI.
Yadav bahu may be in for a surprise in Kannauj
Photographs: Sandip Pal
This time she is pitted against Nirmal Tiwari of Bahujan Samaj Party, Imran Bin Zafar of Aam Aadmi Party and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Subrat Pathak but is confident that she will prevail.
"I am very positive about the election this time as we have provided actual development here which is lacking in BJP-ruled states. Development is the issue and we have given it while Modiji is only talking about it," Dimple said.
"The so-called Modi wave is nothing but a marketing gimmick. Our voters are intact with us as we have worked here for last 10 years and I am very positive about it. As far as Kannauj, the city of fragrance, is concerned, we are making beneficial policies for perfume workers. We have built medical, engineering, polytechnic colleges apart from three stadiums," she said.
Akhilesh is said to have fallen in love with her when she was studying humanities at Lucknow University and married her in 1999.
Daughter of a retired army officer, she was earlier reluctant to enter politics.
"Personally I never wanted to enter politics but it was decided by the party and let's see how it goes in future. I cannot say whether I will have a bigger role in future or not. We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. Right now my focus is on Kannauj, I have developed a personal connect with people here and want to spend more time in Kannauj to know them even better," she said.
'Netaji far better PM candidate than Modi'
Photographs: Sandip Pal
She considers her father-in-law, whom she addresses as 'Netaji', as a far better prime ministerial candidate than Narendra Modi.
"Learning is an ongoing process. I am obviously learning from Netaji and Akhileshji. I think Netaji will be a far better prime minister than Narendra Modi as he is the only leader who enjoys such mass following.
"He is the most experienced leader who has been chief minister thrice, many times MP and MLA and defence minister as well. He is aware of grass-root problems of the country and can make policies beneficial for masses," she said.