As Rampur goes to polls on Saturday,a new slogan is said to be doing the rounds in Muslim pockets: Chota vote Azam ka,bada vote Begum Ka. It means vote for Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in the Assembly elections and choose Begum Noor Bano of Congress in the parliamentary elections.
Such clever slogans apart,the battle in the nawab town of Rampur,that will decide the fate of Azam Khan,has become worth a watch with Amar Singhs associate Jaya Prada breathing fire against Azam.
Camping there for the past one week,Jaya Prada had been campaigning in favour of Azams rival Afroz Khans wife Reshma Afroz.
The gameplan is simple: Divide the Muslim vote to harm Azam Khan. Congress candidate Dr Tanveer Ahmed Khan is another alternative Muslim candidate.
The acrimony between Azam and Jaya Prada intensified with the police visiting Modipur Hotel where the former cinestar is put up. The local MP cried foul,saying the raid was conducted at the behest of Azam. It is a vindictive action,they arrived at the hotel and searched my room. They found nothing,it shows the clout of Azam and my harassment, said Jaya Prada.
Turning emotional,Jaya Prada said: I had respected Azam as my brother. He did not even respect rakhi bandhan. Is this the way to treat a woman? she said.
Azam Khan tried to shrug off the issue,asking Jaya Prada not to spoil the social fabric of the city. Just for the sake of my election,I request her not to shatter the social fabric of the city. She may return,but we have to live here only, he said.
The SP general secretary denied any relation with her. I have four sisters and I cannot afford a sister like Jaya Prada,she is an actress and only performs as per the plot before the camera.
Azam is contesting his tenth election and has been defeated only twice. With an increased clout after his re-entry in SP,he is hopeful of another victory.
For her part,Jaya Prada assures people that she is here to stay. Dont worry I will replicate the N T Ramarao story here also. Within nine months of NTRs party formation in 1982,I campaigned for him and he was the CM. Nobody can predict the result,it will be surprising for our outfit, she stated.