Updated: February 16, 2017 11:33:05 am
Her speeches were brief, each one 10 minutes or so, during a series of three rallies in Agra. The fact that the usually low-profile Dimple Yadav was speaking, however, thrilled Samajwadi Party supporters. “Vikas ki chhabi, Dimple Bhabhi,” went one slogan on Bah’s Ramlila ground Wednesday. “Bhaiyya ka vikas hai, Bhabhiji ka saath hai,” went another. “Bhabhi” urged all three crowds to bring “Bhaiyya” back to power, while praising her chief minister husband for everything the government has done in Uttar Pradesh — 108/102 ambulances, laptops, the Dial 100 scheme. Beyond all that, the Kannauj MP and her party also sought to project her appearance as a pitch for women. All three seats where she campaigned have women as SP candidates. At the last of her three rallies, Dimple said all three seats should elect women as they are more sensitive.
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With Dimple was Jaya Bachchan, Rajya Sabha MP. At the first rally in Bah, Dimple hugged SP candidate Hanskali a.k.a. Anshu Rani Nishad on stage. “It’s the charm of Dimple Bhabhi that has brought women in hordes to this ground,” said Nishad. Nishad, known locally as “Gareebo ki Rani”, had got the SP ticket after the sitting party MLA, Raja Mahendra Aridaman Singh, defected to the BJP. Anshu Rani’s husband, Ramsevak Nishad, used to be a BJP member and was reportedly seeking the BJP ticket from Bah; he died recently.
“While the BJP ignored Nishad, the SP has hugged her,” said Balkishan, an SP supporter. Dimple was addressing the women in the crowd when she said that the prime minister considers housewives thieves who have black money. “Hum maaye behne kuch paise ghar me bachate hain. Kya wo kala dhan tha? Kya hum sab chor hain? Humko bhi apna paisa banko mein daalna pada. Ye gareebo pe atyachaar hai. Mahilaon ki bachat par daka hai,” she said.
She acknowledged the size of the crowd in expressing confidence about her husband’s victory. “Is jan sailaab ko dekh kar koi bhi keh sakta hai ki is baar bhi pradesh me humare mananiya mukhya mantri Akhilesh Yadav ji ki sarkar aa rahi hai.” Her second address was to voters in Etmadpur, for SP candidate Rajbeti Baghal. Dimple had taken her seat before she rose again to wave to voters. She greeted those on stage with hands folded, head bowed. And she started he speech with manifesto promises specific to women.
“We will give you smartphones, pressure cookers, even pensions. Akhileshji is doing a lot for everyone. Bring him again to power,” she said. At Fatehabad in Agra Cantt, she sought support for Mamta, wife of late SP leader Chandrasen Taplu. Only the SP and Mamta can pave the way for development in the constituency, she said.
Someone in the crowd sought to remind her of promises her husband had made. “Bhaiyya ne kaha tha…” the reminder began, before a smiling Dimple acknowledged, “Ha, Bhaiyya ne kaha hai.” Bachchan, who kept her speeches even shorter than Dimple’s, made a sharp acknowledgment of the way she had been announced in. She was not upset that the announcer had introduced her as the “wife of Mahanayak Amitabh Bachchan”, she said, but “it was not necessary”.
To the crowd, she said, “You have given a lot of respect to your Bahu [herself], now it’s time for Chhoti Bahu. Give her victory. Give all our women candidates victory.” About Dimple, Bachchan said, “Earlier, women were shy. They would never make announcements. But now, look at your Dimple Bhabhi. She is making announcements and will also fulfill them. Vote for your Akhilesh Bhaiyya and Dimple Bhabhi.”
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