The Congress is turning to star power in its hope to open its account in Gorakhpur,which has nine Assembly seats. Bhojpuri film actress Kajal Nishad is drawing crowds large enough to raise some Congress hopes in Gorakhpur Rural. She is a Youth Congress nominee and her speeches draw heavily from Rahul Gandhis.
Born in Mumbai and married into a Gorakhpur family,she promises to bring about reverse migration so that people from Mumbai would come to Gorakhpur to look for jobs,rather than the other way round. She echoes Rahul in telling people how the elephant is eating your money.
What,however,brings the biggest cheer from the crowds,largely of youngsters,are her couplets. So jaate hain footpath par akhbaar bichha kar,garib kabhi neend ki goli nahin khate (They sleep on newspapers on the foorpath; the poor never require sleeping pills,she announces at Ucchwan (Baanfora Chauraha) on Wednesday.
She seeks to stand out from politicians who will go for the luxuries of life after winning elections. She has already had that kind of life,she tells voters. Hamein swarg ka rasta na dikhaye ye hawaa,hum to wahin se aaye hain (Let not this air show me the path to heaven; I have come from there itself).
Nishad,who has worked in about a dozen Bhojpuri and Hindi films and over two dozen TV serials including Laaptaganj and Babul Ke Desh,says she has always been interested in politics. Her parents too are in the Congress.
Netas have made a mess of my sasural. There is no employment or civic amenities, she tells The Indian Express. I am here to set it right.
Wife of movie producer Sanjay Nishad,she seeks votes in your bahus aanchal asserting that the other candidates are all outsiders.
Of about 3.5 lakh voters here,Nishads and Muslims constitute around 80,000 each,Brahmins and Thakurs 30,000 each,and the remaining comprising Yadavs,Kurmis and others.
The BSP has also fielded a Nishad candidate (Ram Bhual Nishad) who is an outsider. SP candidate Jafar Amin Dakku is likely to split the minority votebank,Kajal faces her most biggest challenge in BJP candidate Vijay Bahadur Yadav,a nominee of Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath.