Winning the Mainpuri bypoll will be no easy feat for SP’s Dimple Yadav, unlike in the previous election, when her father-in-law Mulayam Singh Yadav scored effortless victories, some locals say.
But many believe she will make it, mainly because of the public sympathy for the veteran leader of the Samajwadi party who recently passed away.
On November 10, the SP had announced the name of Dimple Yadav, the wife of party leader Akhilesh Yadav, as a candidate for the parliamentary seat in Mainpuri.
“The bypoll will certainly not be easy for Dimple Yadav as the BJP is doing everything it can to snatch the seat from the SP. A large number of BJP leaders are already camping in the city,” businessman Dhirendra Kumar Gupta told PTI.
At the same time, Gupta said, it will not be easy for the Saffron Party as the candidate Raghuraj Singh Shakya meets and greets the voters as a formality.
Unless the BJP workers do not campaign door-to-door, it will be difficult for Shakya to win, he said.
“There cannot be any comparison between ‘neta ji’ (Mulayam Singh Yadav) and his son Akhilesh Yadav as the former knew all his constituents. But the Yadavs are visiting more or less every house in the constituency to make sure they come out victorious,” he said.
Gupta claimed that the bypoll is the struggle for ‘asmita’ (identity) for the Yadav family.
The businessman went on to say that if local BJP workers fail to engage with voters, recruiting senior leaders, including ministers from Lucknow, to campaigns will have much less impact.
For hotelier Hemant Pachauri, the upcoming poll is the best chance for the BJP to break through the SP fortress of Mainpuri due to the absence of Mulayam Singh Yadav or ‘neta ji’ to his legions of supporters.
“If the SP loses the seat this time, it will turn out to be the last nail in their political coffin. When in power, the SP had unleashed hooliganism in the city and people felt harassed. Now the scene has changed.
“This bypoll is a hotly contested one. At this point it’s hard to say who will win or who has the advantage. This time is different, especially now that there is no neta ji,” he said.
“In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, neta ji had made an emotional appeal to constituency voters urging them to vote for him and he won by a margin of about 94,000 votes, with even the BSP backing him. In the elections leading up to 2019, the margin of victory was neta ji lakhs,” Pachauri said.
However, local trader KK Gupta said there is “no sympathy” for Dimple Yadav as people were fed up with the SP’s misrule when it was in power.
“They breathed a sigh of relief after the BJP government came to power in the state and the criminals were arrested. Since then, the crime rate has dropped,” he claimed.
Resident Bhupendra Singh also ruled out a wave of sympathy for the SP, saying the BJP will “make history” in the bypoll and win the seat.
“The sympathy for Akhilesh Yadav disappeared the day he took over the reins of his father’s party after a family feud. There is absolutely no sympathy for him, Dimple or the SP,” he claimed.
However, Shyam Bahadur Yadav, a self-proclaimed ‘Samajwadi tapasvi’, rejected the observations, saying that the people of Mainpuri are very supportive of the SP in general and the “Saifai family” (Yadavs) in particular.
“It is the people of Mainpuri who are fighting against the elections (against the BJP). The elections are important because they will be held after the demise of ‘neta ji’…the people of Mainpuri will elect Dimple and send her to Lok Sabha,” Yadav told PTI.
When asked if the SP’s door-to-door campaigns are up to the BJP’s high-tech recruitment, the 50-year-old said: “The BJP indulges in high-decibel campaigns, and it is their only job. They are liars and always showing off. They play (songs on) the DJ, while we go from one house to another in silence.” Pushpendra Singh, a resident of Kishni constituency, said that Mulayam Singh Yadav had done a lot of work, such as building roads, schools and hospitals and providing water and electricity supply to the people of the constituency.
“What has the BJP done for the people of this place?” he said.
Responding to the BJP’s accusation that the SP is indulging in dynastic politics, he said there is no “parivaarvaad” in the party.
Rishi Yadav (17), a freshman of BSc from Karhal assembly segment who had ambitions to join the Indian Air Force, said, “Although I will vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, I will keep the election campaign and the SP is going to win the bypoll.” “From roads to highways, whatever we have, it is only thanks to neta ji. The young voters have shown their inclination towards the SP, and Dimple Yadav will win the bypoll with a bigger margin win,” he said.
When asked to comment on the BJP’s allegations that crime was rampant during the SP regime, Rishi Yadav said that crimes are being committed even now.
“In fact, they have only increased (under the BJP),” he claimed.
Akhilesh Yadav represents Karhal assembly town which is part of Mainpuri Lok Sabha constituency.
Voting in Mainpuri will take place on December 5, while vote counting will take place on December 8.
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