Caste equations not that simple for Dimple in Kannauj

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on April 21, 2019


Kannauj is a prestigious constituency for socialists — particularly the Samajwadi Party (SP). The constituency, once represented by socialist thinker and leader Ram Manohar Lohia, has also sent Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple Yadav to Parliament.

Dimple Yadav was elected unopposed from the constituency in 2012, when her husband vacated the seat to become the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. In 2014 too, she won, but with a very narrow margin.

Now, in 2019, she is facing a tough fight from BJP’s Subrat Pathak, who lost to her in 2014.

The BJP is hoping to unite the upper caste, non-Yadav OBCs, non-Jatav Dalits, and the most backward classes.

“In 2014, the SP was in power and they misused the administrative mechanisms to ensure Dimple Yadav’s victory. Things have changed this time. We have reached out to all sections of society,” said Vikram Singh, an office bearers of the BJP in Kannauj.

BSP’s candidate in 2014, Nirmal Tiwari, recently joined the BJP, instilling fresh hopes in the saffron camp.

According to BJP estimates, the constituency has about five lakh upper caste votes. Lodhi Rajputs, traditional supporters of the BJP, are about two lakh. The party’s plan is to limit the SP into Yadav and Muslim votes, which around 4.5 lakh in number. “The 2017 Assembly elections proved that the SP and BSP base has eroded in the district. We will win hands down this time,” Singh added.

Youth support

But the SP provides a different picture. Dimple Yadav has addressed corner meetings, upholding development initiatives of the Akhilesh Yadav government.

She has also openly attacked the Narendra Modi and the Yogi Adityanath government, particularly on rising unemployment.

Her campaign is spearheaded by a team from SP’s youth wing.

The team, headed by Abhishek Yadav, Yogesh Yadav, Mayank Singh and others, say that the response from the ground is marvellous. “The youth and women are with her. The BJP tries to create problems using caste, but we solve issues using caste. The cadre and workers of SP and BSP work as an engine to ensure the victory of alliance candidates,” they said.

The SP is also seeing no Narendra Modi wave this time. “We couldn’t find anyone who debated in support of Modi this time,” the youth leaders said.

Former BJP MP Ram Baksh Verma, a senior leader from the OBC background, has recently joined the SP.

“Such things will increase our margin. Voters forget caste and identity when the candidate is hard working and capable,” the SP leaders said.

Published on April 21, 2019

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