Dimple fort faces saffron push

Dimple fort faces saffron push

The smell of ‘attar’ (perfume) may have been permeating the narrow and crowded lanes of this town, famous for its ‘desi attar’ (country-made perfume), but the electoral battle here between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BJP promises to be bitter.

In this bastion of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav, the saffron party has been making an all-out effort to win her fort.

The SP, which had won all three Assembly seats in Kannauj, about 150 km from the state capital, in 2012 Assembly polls, saw its hold here shaken badly in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when Dimple barely managed to scrape through by a margin of 19,000 votes.

Apparently emboldened by its performance in 2014, the BJP is going all out to dislodge the SP from its bastion. According to local BJP leaders, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers have been employed by the saffron party for campaigning, especially in the rural areas.

The BJP has not seen victory in the district in the past 15 years. The saffron party also got Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold an election rally at Gursahaiganj in the district on Wednesday.

“We are on a strong wicket here this time... we will win all three Assembly seats,” claimed senior BJP leader Subrata Pathak.

The task of dislodging the SP from Dimple fort is easier said than done though. The SP government has taken several steps to ensure development of the district in the past few years and the people here acknowledge it. “We are residents of a VIP district, thanks to Dimple bhabhi,” said young Amit Yadav as he chanted pro-SP slogans at a party corner meeting near Jalalpur-Panwara railway station.

The much-publicised Lucknow-Agra Expressway also passes through the district, enabling the people to reach the state capital in less than two hours. A medical college has also come up at Tirwa and the state government has initiated the process of setting up an International Perfume Museum and Perfume Park here with the help of the famous French perfume town of Grasse.

“The people here will vote for the SP nominees mainly because of Dimple and Akhilesh... they have promised more development projects,” says local perfume trader Push Raj Jai alias Pampi. The SP also received a boost after former BJP MLA Kalyan Singh Dohre joined the party a few days ago.

Dimple representative Nawab Singh Yadav also claims that his party nominees will win easily. “Dimple bhabhi enjoys support of every section of the society,” he argued.

With both SP and BJP making the contest here a prestige fight, it will be interesting to see if the saffron push is able to crack Dimple fort. Polling here will be held in the third phase on February 19.

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