Friday, November 3, 2017

आइये गंजिंग चलें


 दिलीप अवस्थी 

 

 आइये आज गंजिंग करते हैं। लेकिन उसके पहले ज़रा समझ लिया जाए कि गंजिंग आखिर है किस बला का नाम।  अगर आप सोचते  हैं कि गंजिंग निठल्लागिरि का दूसरा नाम है या फिर वेले-फुकरों का काम है तो आपने गंजिंग का कभी लुत्फ़ उठाया ही नहीं है।  हज़रतगंज को महज़ एक छोटा कनॉट प्लेस या सिर्फ एक महंगा बाजार समझने वाले कभी भी गंजिंग के गूढ़ रहस्य को नहीं समझ सकते।  

गंजिंग दरअसल मनचलों की एक नाज़ुक सी  ललित कला है जिसे सिर्फ गुरु-शिष्य परंपरा के तहत ही सीखी जा सकता है। महीनों के कड़े परिश्रम एवं अनवरत अभ्यास से ही इसमें महारत प्राप्त की जा सकती है।   सबसे जरूरी तत्व तो है आपका आत्मविश्वास और जीवन को बिंदास जीने का अंदाज़। 

गंजिंग का असली महात्म है कि इससे खरीदारी से कोई लेना-देना नहीं है।  अलबत्ता खरीदारों से जरूर है।  कैसे ? आगे समझाते हैं।  गंजिंग एक ऐसी विधा का नाम है कि जब डेढ़ किलोमीटर के हज़रतगंज क्षेत्र की परिक्रमा कुछ इस शिद्दत से की जाये कि डेढ़-दो घंटों का समय पलकों में बीत जाये। इसे एकाग्रता से अकेले में भी किया जा सकता है और छोटे समूह में भी।  इसमें सिर्फ समय ही नहीं कुछ मुद्रा का खीसे में होना भी आवश्यक है।

वैसे तो मैं 1970 से ही गंज का मुरीद था लेकिन गंजिंग के कौशल विकास में मुझे भी छह वर्ष लग गए।  वैसे तो गंजिंग पर कोई उम्र की पाबन्दी कभी नहीं रही है लेकिन  उन दिनों गंज युवक-युवतियों के नैना-चार का प्रमुख केंद्र था।  कोई ओछी छेड़छाड़ नहीं , बस विशुद्ध नयन सुख।  बगल से गुजरे तो दोस्तों में यही चर्चा कि कौन सा परफूम था या फिर किस क्लास की है जैसे सवालों में आधा घंटा तो आराम से निकल जाता था।  अगर जान-पहचान की निकली और उसने गलती से भी हेलो बोल दिया तो समझिये सारे दोस्त मिलकर आपके बटुए को शहीद कर देते थे।  और कोई अनजानी पलट कर देख ले या फिर मुस्कुरा दे तो किसी भी गंजजू का अगले 15 दिनों तक सजधज कर गंजिंग करना अनिवार्य हो जाता था । 

जब्बार या छेदी के यहाँ काफी पीने से ज्यादा लुत्फ़ आते-जाते हसीं चेहरों को ताकने में हुआ करता था। लव-लेन में कंधे से कन्धा टकराते हुआ 'आई  ऍम सारी'कहकर निकलने पर शर्तें लगा करती थीं। समय के साथ गंजिंग के स्वरुप बदले हैं लेकिन आज भी हज़रतगंज शहरवासियों के टहल्ला मारने का प्रमुख स्थान है और गंजजूओं  का मुख्य तीर्थ।  
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Friday, July 21, 2017

Is this end of the road for MAYAWATI ?

By Dilip Awasthi

By resigning her Rajya Sabha seat in a dramatic huff, Daulat Queen Mayawati could well have driven the final nail in BSP's coffin. Though only nine months remained in her term with no chances of her reelection, a politician always wants to make each day count, especially after an electoral holocaust.

Resignations often reveal the acceptance of failure from within. Mayawati anyway was never known to be a crafty, stubborn or calculating politician like so many of her contemporaries. She was thriving for more than two decades on the legacy which Kanshi Ram took decades to build or on circumstances. Each term at the Chief Minister's office only added to her megalomania which bordered dictatorship.

In 2007 Mayawati, rose to power on her own mainly because of the utter failure of Mulayam Singh Raj of 2002. Add to it circumstances in which upper castes mainly Brahmins felt alienated and had nowhere to go. Pushed to the wall, the upper castes led by Brahmins backed the BSP and a Dalit-UpperCates-Muslim combine gave Mayawati an unbelievable majority.

But her five-year rule proved a huge let down for all those who brought her to power. Forget the Dalit, Upper Castes or Muslims supporters, who initially did bask in her reflected glory, even her senior ministers would need to take prior appointments to meet her. Industrialists withdrew from Uttar Pradesh and all development work came to a standstill. There were no interactions, no interviews with the media. Like any autocrat, she was scared for her life that her house and office were turned into a fortress. In fact, she rarely attended her office in the secretariat.She stopped touring the state and also avoided making public appearances. 

Probably the only visible achievement of her regime was the huge Roman structures all over Lucknow and some other select towns. Though beautiful and imposing to look at, these structures even today have no practical use. A good Rs 50,000 crores were spent on these unproductive monuments and huge kickbacks were pocketed in the process. Dalits did admire these grand structures initially as they attended BSP's rallies in Lucknow but they soon realised that stones don't have a heart. The buildings may massage their ego but cannot give them food and jobs.  


Corruption and nepotism ruled the roost in her five-year suffocating rule. As a result, even a disgraced Samajwadi Party, this time under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav reaped a rich harvest in 2012. Despite predictions that Mayawati would return yet again, BSP was reduced to just 80 seats in 2012 from 206 seats. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections it could not even get a single seat.

Now came the annihilation of 2017 assembly elections. The party was plagued with the exodus of senior party leaders, a process which continued even much after the election results came in. Mayawati this time attempted to play the Muslim card as she curtailed fielding Upper Caste candidates. The BSP won merely 19 seats with 22.2% vote share. It faced a loss of 61 seats over 2012. The party came to a full circle as this became its lowest score since 1991, its budding stage, when it won 12 seats.

 Reviving the BSP from here would once again need a Kanshi Ram. It is simply beyond an autocrat like Mayawati who treats everybody around her as scum. Even the part of Dalits - the chamars and Jatavs, who used to swear by her, have deserted. The Muslims have clearly signalled that they do not consider BSP as an alternative to BJP. Of the 100 Muslim candidates fielded by BSP, only two could win. Upper Castes have lost whatever little faith they had in Mayawati. The ride from here on seems going nowhere.

With most of the BSP stalwarts like RK Chowdhry, Swami Prasad Maurya, Naseemuddin Siddiqui gone, Mayawati sits all alone to preside over the end of Kanshi Ram's cherished dream - the BSP.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

पहले नेताजी का रिटायरमेंट हो

दिलीप अवस्थी



चलिए इस बहस को एक नए तरीके से समझा, देखा जाये I  आखिर हम क्यों रिटायर हों? गए वक्त की बात है जब अपने समय के विख्यात बल्लेबाज़ विजय मर्चेंट में अपने जीवन का सर्वेश्रेष्ठ शतक लगाने के तुरंत बाद १९५१ में क्रिकेट से सन्यास लेने की  घोषणा कर दी I पूरा देश स्तब्ध था और जानना चाहता था की मर्चेंट ने ऐसा किन परिस्थितियों में किया I जब पत्रकारों ने उनके निर्णय की वजह पूछी तो मर्चेंट बाले, "सन्यास तो तभी लेना चाहिए जब लोग पूछें  अभी क्यों नाकि तब जब लोग कहने लगें अब कब?"

लेकिन मर्चेंट तो व्यावसायिक खिलाड़ी थे I उनके जैसे न जाने कितने और प्रोफेशनल व्यक्तियों ने ऐसी ही नजीरें रखी हैं I काफी किस्से हम सब जानते हैं और ऐसे लोगों  को याद भी करते हैं  पर बात बस यहीं पर ख़त्म हो जाती है I हम तो सिर्फ अपने नेताओं का अनुकरण करना चाहते हैं जब बात हमारे अपने रिटायरमेंट की आती है I सदियों से हमारे नेता को हमने अजर और अमर बने हुए देखा है जब तक वे पांच तत्व में विलीन नहीं हो जाते हैं I अरसे से हम ऐसे नेताओं को देखते चले आ रहे हैं जो बच्चों की तरह डगमगाते हुए मंच तक पहुँचते हैं और कई बार वहां बैठकर सो भी जाते हैं I लेकिन वे पद छोड़ने को तब तैयार होतें हैं जब घरवाले ठठरी का सामान जुटाने लगते हैं I कुछ बिरले ही नेता ऐसे हुए हैं जिन्हें देख कर देश का हौसला बढ़ा हो I

अब एक सवाल और उठाकर देखा जाये I ये नेता आखिर देश के लिए करते क्या हैं? अगर एक आम हिंदुस्तानी नेता का मानसिक चित्र खींचें तो हम एक धूर्त, शातिर और मोटी चमड़ी वाले व्यक्ति की चित्र ही सजीव करेंगे I एक ऐसा व्यक्ति जिसके पास न कोई डिग्री हैं न डिप्लोमा फिर भी अपने समर्थकों से लेकर पूरे देश को बेवकूफ बनाता रहता है I उसके पास न कोई हुनर है न ट्रेनिंग फिर भी वह चुनाव की राजनीति का मर्मज्ञ है I आमतौर पर उसे कोई वेतन नहीं मिलता है लेकिन उसकी तिजोरी हमेशा बड़े सेठों से भी ज्यादा लबालब रहती I उसे आप घपले करते रंगेहाथ  पकड़ भी लीजिये लेकिन वह अपने गुनाह दूसरों पर थोप कर  कानूनी पंजे से फिसल  जाता है I हम सब उसकी कलाकारी जानते हैं लेकिन मज़ा देखिये वह देश की राजनीति का अहम् किरदार बना ही रहता है जब तक भगवान के घर से न्योता न आ जाये I

शायद हम अपने नेताओं को अंदर से बहुत चाहते हैं और उनसे शिक्षा भी लेते हैं I तभी तो यह रिटायरमेंट जैसे मुद्दे हमेशा उन लोगों के बीच से उठते हैं जिन्हे बिना कुछ ज्यादा किये मालपानी की आदत हो जाती है I ऐसे लोग चाहे वे नौकरी देने वाले हों या करने वाले, अपनी बनाई आरामतलबी की दुनिया में ही लीन रहना चाहते हैं I अपने खोल से बहार निकल कर अपने काम , हुनर पर यक़ीन करने या किसी नए आसमान की ऊंचाईयों को परखने की उनमे हिम्मत ही नहीं होती 

आज देश भर की सरकारें रिटायरमेंट की उम्र बढ़ाने या कर्मचारियों की संख्या बल कम  करने के फैसले के बीच  झूलती नज़र आ रही हैं I जैसे ही वित्त विभाग चेतावनी देता है की उसके पास  बढ़ते वेतन, भत्ते या पेंशन देने के लिए रोकड़ा नहीं है, कर्मचारियों को जबरन रिटायर करने का फैसला ले लिया जाता है I जब कर्मचारी संगठनों की चलती है तो रिटायरमेंट की उम्र बढ़ने की बात होने लगती है I लेकिन अभी भी सरकारेंअधिकारियों -कर्मचारियों की उपियोगिता या उनकी उत्पादकता पर प्रश्नचिन्ह लगाने से कतरा रही हैं I

हमारी सरकारों के कर्णधार यह क्यों नहीं देख पा रहे हैं की हमारे सरकारी तंत्र में काम करने वाले काम और उनकी मैनेजरी करने वाले लोगों की भरमार है I चाहे काम कितना भी संजीदा हो, सरकारी फाइल का रचयिता आज भी एक क्लर्क या हेड क्लर्क होता है I इसी तरह कितना ही जघन्य अपराध हो, उसकी विवेचना आज भी एक इंस्पेक्टर यासब -इंस्पेक्टर ही करता है I मोटी तनख्वाहों वाले अधिकारी चाहे वे आईएएस हों या आईपीएस सिर्फ सुपरवाइजरी ही करते हैं I अपने अड़तीस  वर्ष के पत्रकारिता जीवन में मैंने किसी वरिष्ठ अधिकारी को न तो फाइल बनाते देखा न विवेचना करते I ये लोग सिर्फ दस्तखत पर दस्तखत बनाना जानते हैं 

मोटी  बुद्धि कहती है कि जितने वरिष्ठ आप होते जाते हैं आपको उतने ही संजीदा मामलों से  खुद निपटना चाहिए और कनिष्ठ अधिकारीयों का प्रेरणास्रोत बनानाचाहिए I क्रिकेट टीम  में अगर धोनी, विराट कोहली और युवराज सिंह आराम से बैठें और दारोमदार नए खिलाड़ियों पर छोड़ दे तो कैसे रहे ? वर्षों बाद भी आप आमिर खान की फिल्म उसकी शानदार एक्टिंग देखने के लिए ही जाते हैं I किसी भी धंधे का मूलमंत्र उसमे कार्यरत व्यक्तियों की उपियोगिता, उत्पादकता और जवाबदेही ही है I सरकारें रिटायरमेंट आयु पर चर्चा करें अच्छा है लेकिन देश को नेताओं की रिटायरमेंट उम्र पर भी गहन चिंतन करना चाहिए I वरना ये ख़ादीधारी  अगर आजीवन देश का दोहन कर सकते हैं तो फिर हम सब क्यों नहीं?

Politicians should retire first

By Dilip Awasthi

Let's start the argument all over again from the other side -  why should you RETIRE? Cricket fans were stunned when Vijay Merchant, one of the greatest Indian openers announced his retirement after scoring his highest Test score In 1951. When journalists asked him the reason, he simply said,"You should hang your boots at a stage when people ask WHY rather than WHEN."

But then Merchant was a professional sportsman. So many professionals in different fields have set such examples. We admire them but it ends there. We religiously keep following our leaders when it comes to our own retirement. For ages, our politicians have had this 'never-say-die' spirit when it has come to bowing out. We have been represented by ageing, tottering politicians of all caste and creed. Even in international forums, we have seen our 'netas' managing to reach the podium with infant-like wobbly demeanour or speaking as if it is going to be their last speech. We have seen ministers sleeping in meetings and on the stage. There have been only a paltry few whose public presence has made us proud.

What do the khadi-clad tribe of this country do? If you make a mental sketch of an Indian 'neta', you would only come across a crafty living being. He does not have a worthwhile degree but he thrives on conning his followers and people at large by making false promises. He does not have any skills but he has mastered the art of manipulating elections for himself and his party. He does not get a salary in most cases but is an expert in filling his coffers through mostly unfair means. Catch him red-handed but he can wriggle out by blaming everything on his rivals. In most cases, it will impossible to add any positive attributes especially linked to productivity in that sketch. Still, he has the last laugh as he keeps coming in and out of power till he lives. 

We believe and follow our leaders. The haggling for retirement age often comes from quarters of average performers, who want to fill their bucket till the last drop trickles. In most such cases such an attitude stems from our zest to stick to our comfort zones whether you are an employee or an employer. The will to take new challenges and explore new horizons safely rests in the cocoon we build around our respective lives in the name of security.  

Today governments everywhere in the country stay torn in choosing between increasing retirement age and retrenchment. When the Finance department raises alarm over the staggering salary bills and also the ever-increasing perks and pension, the idea of chopping off the deadwood through compulsory retirement starts looking good. But it is high time that we first figure out the usefulness of the so-called administrative system we have made. 

We just have supervisors in the bureaucratic services and no executors. Howsoever important the issue may be, the government file is created by clerks and section head clerks. Bureaucrats only sign and counter-sign these files. Similarly, an FIR is even now investigated by an inspector or sub-inspector of police. The rest of the paraphernalia including SPs, IGs and DGs just supervise. In my 38 years of journalism, I have yet not come across a senior official who has himself constructed a file or a senior IPS official has solved a case of crime.

Common sense would suggest the senior you become more is expected out of you. Can you expect a Virat Koli or Yuvraj Singh to sit back and leave the onus of performance on the younger players? You see an Amir Khan film even after so many years squarely for his performance. Linking jobs with performance and productivity can only keep you in business. While governments discuss retirement age of its employees, the country needs to decide the retirement age of its politicians. If they can work till they die, so can everybody else.



Friday, July 7, 2017

When should on RETIRE?

By Dilip Awasthi

When should one retire? Answering this question is almost like projecting an appropriate age to die. In fact, one line of thought is that a salaried person dies twice - once when he retires and the last time when he actually does. 


In this country of not only multi-cultures, races, languages, cuisines, we also have a fair sprinkling of a multiplicity of rules and regulations. In fact in many cases, we do have two sets of rules as well - one for the mighty and powerful and the other for the lesser children of God. Even after 70 years of Independence, we have not been able to thrash out weeds and worms ailing our systems.


But forget philosophy and emotions, let's stick to the brass tacks. New U.P.chief secretary Rajiv Kumar on July 6 ordered all departments to screen out officers and employees who have attained an age of 50 tears or more and who are "not fit" to perform their duties. Such screening should be complete by July 31 after which these employees will be "compulsorily" retired by giving them a three-month notice.


On the same day, the Vice-chancellors of the state university held a meeting to recommend raising the retirement age for teachers from 62 to 65 years. The retirement age for doctors has already been raised to65 years. In certain institutes of excellence like the Sanjay Gandhi PGI, the age for retirement of Professor of Eminence has been made 75 years.  Now the wait begins for some more ambitious government officials to grant themselves jobs till they die. The clause would read: "posted as ...... until death."


A confused government is unable to decide whether to back experience or new talent. And how do you decide whether a person - a professional or a clerk, is unfit to work unless he has been declared so by the doctors on health grounds? This would lead to pick and choose and personal likes and dislikes will come into play. 


Instead, why can't we have firm rule fixing the retirement age so that the productivity of the employee remains the main criteria. This has been quite successfully practised in the private sector by the companies and also by professionals who know when to hang their boots. Who told Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Narayan Moorthy (Infosys) or Rusi Modi and Cyrus Mistry (Tata) to resign.


But then either the system or the individual has to be goal-driven. Unfortunately, in government frequent political changes keep uprooting and shifting the goal-post every now and then. Productivity is possibly the last of the priorities in a government official's serving tenure. Who has ever fixed the productivity of an IAS, IPS official or for that matter that of a clerk or a peon?


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Are we headed for Press Censorship?

By Dilip Awasthi

 

Are we headed for yet another regime?of undeclared censorship? The question could be discomforting and frustrating too for the believers in freedom of expression. We have seen Indira Gandhi's dictatorial  Emergency and Mayawati's autocratic rule or even Mulayam Singh's  "halla bol" campaign wherein the media was humbled or even made redundant.

Both PM Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath in a big way owe their current towering status to the outright media support they received in their early days. Now that both feel comfortably placed as far as their respective public images are concerned, they have either started taking the media for granted or have become highly sensitive to any criticism coming their way. Both have started showing their fangs now. Either official might is being used against the media or iron curtains are being drawn to keep governmental working away from the journalists' prying eyes.

My sources in the bureaucracy reveal that senior officials have been clearly instructed to interact with media only sparingly. A "Black Hole" situation is being envisaged in the official corridors so that nothing escapes unless the government decides to share it. Officials have been told to hold their lips tight. Any of the policy decisions or instructions from the CM's office are strictly confidential and should not be shared even in bits and pieces with the media. Says a senior secretary" Nothing should leak to the media is what has been communicated." Efforts are being made by departmental heads to ensure that there is no 'adverse' publicity in the media whether it is the law and order front, power crises, farmer woes or civic issues.

To keep the media at bay, other subtle steps are also being taken. Even after six months of 2017, security passes of journalists, which allow them access to governmental corridors, have not been renewed. New accreditations are not being considered. There is a squeeze on government advertisements to make newspaper owners fall in line. Most media owners will willingly do that as they intend to use maximum space for earning revenue through advertisements or even paid news.

As it is a huge credibility question faces the media. The accountable factors include the lack of the will to deeply research issues, have the courage to bring them to the fore, remain objective and call a spade a spade, increasing commercialisation and also a moral commitment to the cause of journalism. If supposedly democratic majority governments decide to bell the institution of journalism, we could be headed for darker days. There is virtually no opposition
in the parliament or the Vidhan Sabha or even outside. If you try to choke the media,  you will have Medi Aarti and Yogi Chalisa playing all over 24 by seven.

But being the optimist that I am, I still hope that better senses will prevail.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Goodbye Tappu !

I pay my homage to Akhilesh Das, known as one of the shrewdest  politicians of recent times. Apartment from being the owner of BBD group and a real estate developer besides so many other things, Tappu as he was lovongly called by friends, was also my two years junior in Colvin Taluqedars College. I remember that we enacted in a play together for Sanchi house and won the first prize. There were occassions in my professional life that I had to write against him as a journalist but he never mixed it up with our personal relationship. He always treated me as his senior till the last. He never asked me for a favour which politicians expect with every fall of the hat. We spoke to each other during UP election campaign and decided to meet soon but that was not to be."Dilip bhai anything I can do?", was always his parting shot.  Only few would know that Tappu was an accomplished badminton player. Later he became plump like me and added a bouquet of ailments again like me because of the extra kilos. He died of a heart failure in Lucknow this morning. I have lost a sincere friend and I am feeling the void. May God rest his soul in peace. i feel like asking - Tappu can I do something for you? But I know I will get no response...
--

 

Dilip Awasthi

Ex.Editor, Uttar Pradesh

Dainik Jagran

Lucknow, INDIA

Mobile: +91 9839904455

               +91-9415022244

             

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Haunted house gets its new occupant

By Dilip Awasthi

Lucknow: Next doors to UP chief minister's official residence - 5 Kalidas Marg, referred to as 5 KD in official parlance is another sprawling ministerial bungalow. This house is cursed. At least that is widely believed and as a result, most ministers refuse to occupy this bungalow.  Thoe who do, pay the price.


On Ram Navami on April 5, a special puja was organised in 6 Kalidas Marg bungalow after which Yogi cabinet's animal husbandry minister SP Singh Baghel entered this haunted house to live here. If employees of this house are to be believed, Baghel is the eighth occupant of this house. According to the Estate Department officials, Baghel himself offered to occupy this house, knowing fully well about its notorious reputation.


A gardener who works here maintaining the impressive lawns of this house says that it is widely believed that whosoever occupies this house faces either political oblivion, career downslide or critical illness resulting in death. This house was occupied amongst others by Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, who is in the wilderness these days. Mayawati's right-hand minister at one time, Babu Singh Kushwaha lived in this house. He was later jailed in the NRHM scam and was also thrown out from BSP.


Akhilesh Yadav's minister Rajendra Chowdhry refused to move into this house but Javed Abdi did and fell from grace of the Samajwadi Party leaders. Another minister Waqar Ahmed Shah lived here but soon developed NS Qa moved to the hospital; in a state of comma. Some staff members claim that something about this house is not good. Ït is eerie if you stay here in the night", says one of them.


Situated in the posh VIP area and with the neighbourhood as influential as the state's CM, this house has remained vacant in most regimes. One of the ageing peons posted in this house feels it is haunted. "It could be a former minister who does not want to leave this house even after leaving this world", he says with a chuckle. But Yogi's minister Baghel wants to prove all this wrong.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Ruling UP will be like Riding a Tiger


by Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: A photo recently became viral in social media. Its an old photo which shows Yogi Adityanath feeding a tiger cub. The cub, by now would have become a full grown tiger like Yogi has grown in stature to become UP's chief minister.  But a fortnight has passed since he took over, Yogi and also BJP would be realising that ruling Uttar Pradesh after a gap of 14 years will be no less than riding a wild tiger.

The initial hysteria following BJP's historic success is calming down now as saffron clad Yogi settles on the driving seat. Detractors keep questioning BJP's choice of Yogi as the CM mainly because of his aggressive hardline approach.  Like all verbose politicians, Yogi in the past has shown least concern over the communal hatred his statements have caused. But apart from this nobody can question the integrity or character of this five-time MP from Gorakhpur. His lifestyle and conduct as the Mahant of the legendary Gorakshnath peeth has been exemplary. As a result, the fears and also the expectations are high.

Yogi has been given two deputy CMs - state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma. Both these leaders are of spotless background and are known to be dedicated soldiers of the BJP. The team of ministers includes the old guard, senior leaders who joined the BJP from other parties and also youngsters. Having said that  Yogi and both his deputies lack the experience of even remotely administering a state as large and complex as Uttar Pradesh.

From Day 1 Yogi has taken a strong stand against the corrupt, inefficient and complacent. He has promised to inquire into the shady deals, job scandals and favouritism adopted by the Akhilesh regime. But apart from the CM's statements, nothing has been done on the ground so far. Ironically the CM went into his first cabinet meeting on April 4 without any change in the bureaucratic setup of Akhilesh Yadav's Raj. The result is that most of the senior officials including the chief secretary, home secretary, DG police are wiling time as they await marching orders. The administration has been virtually on a standstill.

Yogi's first two starters - licenses to butcheries and taming of street Romeos have had strong counter-reactions. The first led to a state-wide strike by raw meat sellers that led to end of business for restaurants and eateries dealing in non-vegetarian food. The decision was considered as the first pin-prick for Muslims as the meat business is mostly controlled by their community. Though Yogi's intention to put a noose around unauthorised meat business carried out in appalling unhygienic conditions was justified but like demonetisation it could have been implemented much more smoothly. 

Similarly, the anti-Romeo campaign was misdirected by the police to harass love-birds who were found sitting in parks, restaurants, cinema halls and malls. The operation was supposed to target street Romeos who were hounding girls in public places or schools and colleges. Instead, it turned into public lashing of youngsters by police all across the state. Policemen fleeced these love-birds of whatever they could pay off. Finally, Yogi had to clarify the purpose of this drive and issue warnings to erring policemen.

But these two decisions only show a glimpse of how things could go out of hand because of haste and inexperience. Thankfully Yogi has not made any statements so far which would create a gulf in the minds of Hindus or Muslims. In fact, it is the other way round. In his first public appearance in Lucknow in a Yoga program, Yogi said that there is several similarities between Surya Namaskar and Namaz prayers. "I don't know why people divide Hindus and Muslims?" he asked. 

Yogi and BJP both must be realising that ruling UP will need some doing than merely statements.  To make the party's presence felt in the state, Yogi will have to go that extra mile and learn from the mistakes of the past regimes. He will have hardly any room to commit his own.  The Modi-Amit Shah formula for UP will face the first test in 2019, which is not as far as it seems.
             

Saturday, March 18, 2017

चोर की नीयत रखो और चिल्लाओ चोर -चोर

दिलीप अवस्थी 

लखनऊ : कहते हैं कि चोर-चोर चिल्लाने वाला अक्सर खुद चोर की नीयत रखता है I डर तब और सताता है जब ऐसी नीयत रखने वाला खुद हुक्मरान हो सकता हो I 

उत्तर प्रदेश में भाजपा की अप्रत्याशित सफलता के बाद उठ रहे विचित्र विरोध के स्वर सुनकर कुछ ऐसा ही महसूस होता है I  दौलत की रानी मायावती, बड़बोले केजरीवाल , और  सकपकाई कांग्रेस ने इलेक्ट्रॉनिक वोटिंग मशीनों (ई वी ऍम ) को लेकर जिस तरह के सवाल उठाये हैं उनसे और कुछ नहीं तो राजनैतिक दिवालियेपन और संगदिली की झलक जरूर मिलती है I कुंठित अखिलेश यादव ने भी जांच होने  का समर्थन करके खुद को भी इस खेमे में शामिल कर लिया है I 

इन नेताओं और दलों ने यह भी सोचने का कष्ट  नहीं किया कि  सबसे पहले तो ईवीएम पर सवाल उठाकर वे चुनाव आयोग को कटघरे में खड़ा कर रहे हैं I  फिर साथ ही ये आरोप भी लगा रहे हैं की प्रधानमंत्री मोदी और अमित शाह ने चुनाव आयोग से वोटिंग मशीनों में धांधली करवा कर यह चुनाव जीत है I  दोनों ही सूरतों में एक मजेदार नज़रिया उभरता है I  आप जैसा खुद करते हो वैसा ही दूसरा करेगा यह मानते हो I 

क्या इन बयानों से यह समझा जाये कि अपने शासनकाल में कांग्रेस, मायावती और अखिलेश ऐसे ही अपना राज-काज चलाते थे ?  क्या सरकारी संस्थानों, सरकारी कार्यों, नौकरियों-तबादलों में ऐसे ही धांधलियां की जाती थी ?  क्या केजरीवाल दिल्ली में इसी तरह से सरकार चला रहे हैं? क्या इन नेताओं और राजनितिक दलों ने 2002, 2007, 2012और 2015 के चुनाव ऐसे ही जीते थे ?

अगर इन सवालों से बुरा लग रहा हो तो मेरी राय में हार को स्वीकार करना सीखो और क्यों हारे यह समझो I  हार स्वीकारोगे तो हार बहुत कुछ सिखाएगी वरना पाँच साल तक ऐसे ही खिसियाई बिल्ली की तरह खम्बा नोचते रहना I 

 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mayawati is disgraceful even in defeat



By Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: Instead of sitting back and analysing the causes of humiliation in 2017 UP assembly elections, Daulat Queen Mayawati true to her personality is disgraceful in defeat. 

After indulging in the lowest level of mudslinging against rivals throughout her campaign,  the self-styled Dalit ki Beti refuses to concede that the Dalits have moved away from her and are now under the BJP's umbrella. The party has lost more than 60 seats over 2012 elections and its votes have gone down by nearly 7%.

But the blissfully oblivious Mayawati wants fresh elections in the state. In a press conference when the trends started indicating a two-third majority for BJP, loud-mouthed Mayawati, speaking extempore which she rarely does, charged: "Modi and Amit Shah have manipulated the EVMs in such a way that the BSP votes have also gone to the BJP". 

She went on and on with her new-found hilarious conspiracy theory and demanded that the election commission should set aside this election and hold a fresh one. She also wanted election commission to go back to the system of ballots and ballot boxes from now on. She kept levelling wild allegations least realising that if EVMs were tampered with than she is pointing her accusing fingers towards the election commission rather than the BJP leaders.

She questioned that how did the BJP perform well in the Muslim dominated areas. "Do you mean to say that Muslims also voted for BJP?", she asked. But that is what Mayawati is made off. She presented herself as a bull-headed autocrat who would keep ramming against the wall till her "Haathi"(elephant) fainted.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Even Politicians are conceding a split verdict



By Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: Leave alone most of the exit polls, even political parties seem to be conceding a split verdict for 403 seats of the UP Vidhan Sabha elections. Only some believe that either SP or BJP might reach the magic majority mark.

But politicians have already started thinking in terms of forming the government in an alliance. The SP-Congress combine, according to exit polls, will fall short. Probably reacting to this possibility, chief minister Akhilesh told a news channel that his party would not be averse to getting support from his "Bua" (paternal aunt) Mayawati. "We are open to this idea as after all she is my Bua". Having said this Akhilesh obviously is indicating that he can seek BSP's support for repeating another term.

But then Daulat Queen Mayawati does is not amused, says one of her top aides.  "First of all she will never like to shake hands with SP and secondly she would like to be the CM herself rather than allowing Akhilesh another term". Mayawati's love for being at the helm is no secret as each time she has sought BJP's support, her first condition was chief ministership for herself. Every time she could strike this bargain sticking to this stand despite lesser numbers in the house than 
BJP.

But this time BJP has other ideas. Given the strong dislike both PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah have for Mayawati and the kind of barbs they have exchanged with her during the poll campaign, the chances of an alliance between the two parties are remote. But as they say, there are no permanent enemies in politics. A senior central BJP leaders hints that in case BJP needs support, it can go to BSP but only on the condition that Mayawati will be the deputy CM.

Though a lot will depend on how it shapes when the results come in by March 11 noon, it looks as if this is going to be the first time that none of the parties seeking her support in 2017 will concede chief ministership for the Daulat Queen.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

 Our Political Parties & their candidates

By Dilip Awasthi

Lucknow : As the countdown to the results of UP Vidhan Sabha elections begins, its worthwhile taking a look at what our main political parties - BJP, BSP, SP and Congress stand for as they fielded their chosen few to contest these crucial elections.


Daulat Queen Mayawati's party BSP, which stands for the downtrodden, excels in all formats. It has fielded the highest number of 150 candidates with criminal records. This accounts for 38% tainted candidates in the party fold. BSP wins the race by one percent against SP which has 37% criminals candidates, Despite Akhilesh's claim of refurbishing his party's image of the total 307 candidates he has fielded, as many as 113 have criminal cases going against them.

The BJP, which contested this election on the promise that it will end  SP's "Jungle Raj", is not far behind. Of the 383 candidates of BJP, as many as 137 (36%) have criminal cases pending against them. BJP, which always maintains a holier than thou attitude, will find this difficult to justify.  Congress party also has fielded criminals but it can boast to be the last of the major parties in the fray in this election. Of the 114 Congress candidates,  as many as 32% have criminal cases against them.

Interestingly the overall percentage of such candidates for 403 assembly seats is as low as 18%. Only 859 candidates of the total 4,823 fall in this category whereas the four main parties cross the 30% mark despite their tall promises and flowery manifestoes.

BSP also ranks on the top in fielding candidates with money-power as 335 (84%) candidates are crorepaties. BJP and SP have respectively fielded 79% such candidates and the Congress follows with 66% such candidates. More surprisingly 57 of BSP candidates who contested in 2007 also, increased their assets by 92% in their declaration submitted in 2017.

Nothing can possibly better prove the different masks these parties use to get to power.



Friday, March 3, 2017

Why Mayawati will not be the next UP CM

By Dilip Awasthi
After analysing why Daulat Queen Mayawati should not become the UP chief minister in 2017, it is time to figure out why she will not get to power this time. There has been lot of speculation in the media whether Mayawati's BSP was the dark horse in the run for UP Vidhan Sabha. Dark, yes but Mayawati will not even prove to be a mare in these elections.

Given that her honeymoon with social engineering is over, Mayawati is unlikely to get upper caste specially Brahmin votes (around 13%) which played a crucial role in bringing her to power in 2007. The Muslims voters (18%) were also crucial during that period as they were disillusioned by Mulayam Singh regime. They supported her in a big way and that is how she got 206 seats and 30.42% votes.

The fact that she has formed the government in UP thrice by shaking hands with the BJP in UP, has put off the Muslim voters in a big way. Though she fielded around 101 Muslim candidates as against 70 odd last time, Muslims have a clear aversion to the BSP as they do not want a situation of BJP attaining power in UP as well. There could be stray cases where they might favour a BSP Muslim candidate wherever the SP-Congress combine is not in a position to take on the BJP.  

Given this situation, Mayawati is left with just Chamar votes ( 40% of dalit votes) - a situation reminiscent of her "Tilak, Taraaju aur Talwar...."daays. Most of the other dalits like pasis, mauryas etc.. vote against the chamar majority as far as the dalit politics goes. Add to this partial Muslim votes and Mayawati's tally should be around 60-70 seats at best. He chances in the elections have been curtailed significantly before the start of the elections because BSP stalwarts like Swami Prasad Maurya (BSP Legislature Party chief), RK Chaudhry, Ramveer Upadhyay and half a dozen other left the party and joined hands with rivals. She was just left with Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who is ailing, as the only mainstream leader.

Her only chance to success is if BJP bails her out again. Given the attitudes of PM Modi and President Amit Shah, it is highly unlikely that they would agree to unpredictable Mayawati becoming the CM of the state specially with 2019 Lok Sabha elections not far away. Mayawati has used lot of venom against PM Modi and Amit Shah during her campaign. 

Though politicians shrug off these barbs exchanged during election campaigns, BJP will grope to find logics for supporting Mayawati yet again. The only political logic can be keeping Akhilesh-Rahul combine at bay or the moralistic logic would be the cliched "we-do-not-want-to-push-the-state-into-another-election".

Come March 11 and Mayawati's claims will all fall flat. But Mayawati will still stand a chance if she can find a new brother like Amit Shah on Bhaiya Duj'' after Holi. 


#Mayawati, # UP elections#, #PM Modi, #Amit Shah, #Akhilesh Yadav, #BSP, #BJP

 

             

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why Should Mayawati not become UP CM again

By Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: For the first time Daulat Queen Mayawati has opted for such a blistering campaign all over, especially on the social media, to stake her claim to power in Uttar Pradesh. She has spent something in the region of Rs 300 crores on her makeover in the media. But rest assured she won't get there and more importantly she should not.

Let's first see why she should not rule UP again. She lasted full five-year term (2007-2012) and built stone monuments in some towns including Lucknow costing the state exchequer Rs 50 lakh of which at least 50% went into her coffers. She claims in her public meetings that law and order situation was much better in her regime compared to the present SP rule.

Debatable but given that it was a shade better but why and at what cost. Starting from her, her ministers, officials including the district magistrates and SPs had all become inaccessible for the common man. There was an impregnable iron curtain between the government and administration. It starts from the top. When the CM does not want to interact with people, his or her officials follow suit. So even if you have to lodge a complaint or FIR where do you go?

Mayawati ruled UP like an autocrat. There was a coterie a couple of BSP leaders and officials around her who would not let anybody get closer to the "Queen". This group completely dominated government political and administrative decisions. There were no interviews for the media and just twice she addressed formal press conferences in the five years. She would say whatever she had to and just get up and go without taking any questions. It was a written monologue and that is all.

January 15 was celebrated virtually as Mayawati would sit on an elevated platform all decked up with diamonds and expensive jewellery on her birthday. A cake equal to her weight was cut and distributed amongst party MPs, MLAs, leaders and officials who had to necessarily come with costly gifts or cash depending on their respective
status. Diamond jewellery used to fall short in supply in Lucknow and around a fortnight before this birthday bash.

Let's now examine how UP progressed in her regime. But for dalit housing, loans and grants, all other developmental schemes came to a standstill. Even roads were built where either BSP leaders or officials lived in Lucknow. The rest of the city commuted in carpet-bombed streets. 

More than a dozen industrial groups either pulled out of UP or slowed down their ongoing projects as for everything palms had to be greased to seek an interview with Mayawati, who in turn made unreasonable demands. Currency counting machines were installed at her residence for the donor's convenience. The most talked about case was that of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Fresh. The group had such a trying experience that it could not return to UP till now. Many big builders just fled from UP during her regime.

Now in the present times, it is a known fact that demonetization has hurt the Daulat Queen the most. The BSP chief reportedly asked her assembly candidates to get Rs 50 lakh old currency notes exchanged into new if they wanted to contest on a BSP ticket. If she gets to power she would be in a much greater hurry to recover her huge "losses" following notebandi. So watch out !!!


#Mayawati, #Uttar Pradesh, #UP elections, #Uttar Pradesh Elecctions, #BSP, #Bahujan Samaj Party

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Satta bids prefer UP polls over Cricket series

By Dilip Awasthi

Lucknow: Even the ongoing India-Aussies Test series is not doing as well as crucial UP elections in the all-pervasive satta market.

Winning margins offered by the bookies on the two events tell the story. India winning the series gets the satory (gambler) just 40 paisa on rupee. This means that if he puts in rupee one on an India win he will get back Rs 1.40. If the satory plays for an Australia win, he gets Rs 1.60. 

These rates keep fluctuating as the series progresses and then more specific sattas like margin of victory in a match, margin in the series, best batsman, best bowler etc.are thrown for bidding. 

In case of UP election, as five phases of voting has already happened, the satta has become more specific. Who forms the next government : SP, BJP, BSP or hung house? Bookies are offering 20 paisa on SP victory, 25 paisa on BJP, 45 paisa on BSP and 10 paisa on hung house. This means the lesser the money offered the greater the chances of victory of that party or visa-Versa.

Along with this the bokkies are also offering a seat range and tha satory has to bid outside this range. This means that if the range offered by the bookie is achieved then the bookie wins or else the satory wins by biding on either side of the range. In this case the margins are fixed at 80 paisa as of now.

After the fifth phase the range being offered by the bookies is SP-Congress 185-190, BJP 125-130 and BSP 60-65. These figures belong to the bookie which means that if the final tally matches this the bookie wins. Suppose the satory bids for SP 184 and below and 191 seats and more he wins 80 paisa on every rupee. given above. 

To say that satta markets are a prediction of some kind would be wrong but it surely can be treated as an indication. Surely a lot of homework goes in by the organisers of th satta markets because stakes are very high as more than Rs 1,000 crore will exchange hands when the results come out. The final figures which the bookies will offer will come on the day of the last phase. After this the satta woul;d played in full steam till the results come in.








             

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Might seems Right for BJP Now

By Dilip Awasthi
Lucknow: Might is right seems to have become BJP's motto now. The party which calls SP a "Goonda Party" leads the tally of candidates with criminal cases pending against them  in the first four phases of UP elections.
According to analysis of candidates profile for first four phases released by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), of the total 260 seats which the BJP is contesting its candidates in 85 (33.2%) constituencies have active criminal cases pending against them. These include heinous cases of crime against two dozen BJP representatives in these elections.
BJP is closely followed by BSP which is contesting 260 seats and has fielded 86 (33.07%) tainted nominees. BJP's  Goonda Party comes third in the table as 62 of its 194 candidates - 31.7% - have criminal cases being tried against them. Down and out Congress  with 25 of the 81 candidates is also maintaining the 30% reservation mark for criminals in the contest.
Along with muscle power, the BSP outshines its rival in money power as well, Dalit queen Mayawati's 260 candidates , as many as 225 (865%) have declared a wealth of more than a crore rupees. There are more than a 20 who have crores in double and triple digits. It is believed that the BSP tickets for elections usually come with a price-tag. Obviously the candidates have to be rich enough to buy them off the shelf and also contest elections after that.
SP and BJP are not far behind here too. SP has 162 (83.5% and BJP has 208 candidates (81.2%) who are crorepatis. Considering their backgrounds and that they do not claim to be a party of "have-nots", the BJP and SP may have a justification but how would the Dalit party like to react?
The cleanest slate is that of Independent candidates as of the 834 in the frey only 88 (10.5%) have criminal records as declared by them in their respective affidavits. The Independents have just 128 crorepatis (15.8%). They actually could be our future role-models who are closer to the common man. Otherwise whatever the bigger parties might claim and show, the facts clearly spell out they believe in both money and muscle power.


#Akhilesh Yadav, #SP, #Samajwadi Party, #BJP, #BSP, #Congress, #UP Elections, #Uttar Pradesh, #CM UP

Friday, February 17, 2017

This Picture is discomforting

    

 by Dilip Awasthi

Most people even BJP and BSP leaders ask if UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was so confident about his government's achievements why did he opt for an alliance with Congress and Rahul Gandhi? In 2017 when UP is going to elect its new government, a pre-poll alliance with a party like Congress which just got 28 seats in 2012 assembly electionsfor 11%  votes and was wiped off by the Modi wave in the Lok Sabha elections 2014, would obviously puzzle anybody.

Voters in UP might not be as perplexed by this combination as leaders of the rival parties and also Akhilesh's father Mulayam Singh. Akhilesh himself smiles and äsks,"If it is a "nothing"alliance why is everybody (politicians) so concerned ?". True and if eyebrows are being raised by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then the question mark facing this alliance needs to be answered.

In his couple of rallies in Kannauj and Barabanki earlier this week, Modi played up the issue of this "opportunistic"alliance. He devoted a significant part of his speeches to underline that Akhilesh had tied up with the party which organised a "life threatening"attack on his father Mulayam Singh. Modi went on to elaborate that the Congress Party was behind the attack on Mulayam Singh in 1984. "Then Atalji and Chowdhry Charan Singh had  come to Mulayam Singh's rescue by ensuring his security". Actually Akhilesh is still a novice in politics, Modi went on, and he will only play in the hands of Congress till it wants. Then it will dump him. "Seasoned politician Mulayam Singh is very upset with this alliance", Modi said.

Either Modi did not check his facts or deliberately chose to conceal the latter part of the story. True that in March, 1984 Mulayam;s vehicle was sprayed with bullets in Mykhera village of Mainpuri, his happy hunting ground and constituency. Mulayam had lodged an FIR naming a strong Congress Minister late Balram Singh Yadav behind the conspiracy. Trues that Atal Behari Vajpai and Chowdhry Charan Singh were instrumental in getting Z category security for Mulayam after this incident.

Now comes the interesting part of the story. The then chief minister Beer Bahadur Singh had ordered the Home Department to inquire into the case. After around three months of investigation, the Home Department released its findings that the attack in which Mulayam Singh did not sustain any injury was staged-managed to get z category security which the politician had been demanding from the government for sometime and his requests were turned down on two occasions. Several other details were provided to substantiate the findings which were reported by me (in The Times of India) and my friend and senior Gyanendra Sharma (in Navbharat Times).

Akhilesh reacting to Modi's speeches about the alliance, said that he is just trying to create a misunderstanding between me and my father but would surely not succeed. Coming back to the question why Akhilesh went for this alliance and more interestingly why are rivals including PM Modi so concerned would call for another blog. Wait till tomorrow.... 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

चुनाव के लिए कुछ भी करेगा




दिलीप अवस्थी

कहते हैं चुनाव तब लड़ो जब गधे को भी बाप बनाने का दम रखो I  वैसे तो रिश्ते नितांत निजी मसला होते हैं लेकिनद चुनाव मैं तो सबके चरण देवता तुल्य नज़र आते हैं I

बस यह संयोग  ही है की अपनी बात कहने की लिए जो दो फोटो अच्छी लगी वे अपर्णा (बिष्ट) यादव की हैं और और बिलकुल ताज़ा यानि कल यानी फरवरी 15 की हैं I  लेकिन यह दृश्य किसी भी पार्टी के मंच पर देखे जा सकते हैं I  एक फोटो में अपर्णा अपने ससुर मुलायम सिंह के पैर छू  रही हैं तो दूसरी में जेठानी डिंपल यादव केI

क्या ही अच्छा हो की ऐसे बड़े और छोटे के सम्बन्ध चुनाव के बाद भी बने रहें I लेकिन चुनाव  में तो पैर चुने का मकसद दिखावा ही होता है I  जग ज़ाहिर है की अखिलेश यादव और  उनके सौतेले भाई प्रतीक एकदूसरे से मिलना छोड़ देखना भी पसंद नहीं करते हैं I  घर की खाने की मेज़ पर भी तब आते हैं जब दूसरा जा चुका हो I इसी तर्ज़ पर देवरानी-जेठानी भी एक दूसरे की  परछांई से भी दूर रहना चाहती हैं I

लेकिन कल जब डिंपल अपर्णा की चुनावी सभा में पहुंची तो देवरानी ने मंच पर ही उनके लपक कर पाँव छुए I  डिंपल ने भी वोटरों से अपील की क़ि उनकी देवरानी बड़ी कर्मठ है और उसे जिताओ तो खूब काम करेगी I  इसी तरह जब मुलायम सिंह अपर्णा की एक दूसरी सभा में पहुचे तो छोटी बहु ने फिर फिर मंच पर ही उनके पैर पकड़ कर आशीर्वाद लिया I  जनता में बैठे एक बुढऊ बोले, "अरे कम से कम सर तो ढक लेतीं बहुरानी I " लेकिन लोगों का क्या, उनका तो काम है कहना I

मुलायम सिंह ने अपर्णा की जोरदारी से प्रशंसा की और कहा, "मेरी बहु ने बहुत काम किया है, उसे जीता जरूर देना, इज़्ज़त का सवाल है I" जनता में से ही एक सज्जन कह उठे, "अरे नेताजी बहु से इतना काम क्यों करवाते हो ?"अपर्णा  चुनाव में पूरी ताकत से तो नज़र आती है लेकिन उनका लोगों से संपर्क न के बराबर है क्योकि या तो वह बारे नेताओं से घिरी रहती हैं या फिर हटो-हटो करती सिक्योरिटी से I


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bari Didi versus Choti Bahu

By Dilip Awasthi


Tables have turned for Lucknow Cant seat in this Vidhan Sabha election. This seat has been shuttling between the BJP and the Congress in the past couple of elections. Congress won it in 2012 the candidate who qon it for the Congress is contesting as a BJP nominee. On the other hand Samajwadi Party, which has had almost no say here, is contesting as BJP's main rival with Congress support of course. Comp;icated isn't it ?


Let's first add a little more to your confusion. The two women contestants are reffered by the voters as "Bari Didï" and "Choti Bahu". One is daughter of a former heavy weight UP chief minister and the other is daughter-in-law of another former chief minister and also step sister-in-law of the present chief minister. Is politics just a dynastic affair?


Enough of puzzles, welcome to the contest between Rita Bahuguna Joshi (67), daughter of Hemwati Nanadan Bahuguna, the sitting Congress MLA from this seat who has crossed over to the BJP and Aparna (Bisht) Yadav (26), Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law and SP candidate, who is mostly surrounded by Congress leaders when she is campaigning. Rita Bahuguna Joshi is a seasoned politician, and is a professor at the University of Allahabad. She has been a Congress leader for last 24 years and has held positions of Mayor of Allahabad, National President of Mahila Congress (2003-2007) and State president of Congress (2007-2012). She joined BJP in 2016. For her five year term she has really worked hard and has nursed her constituency well.


Aparna Yadav, on the other hand is Mulayam Singh's "Choti Bahu". It starts and ends here. After her initial schooling in Lucknow, she studied in London where Prateek, Mulayam Singh's second son from his second wife was also studying. Both got involved in an affair and later got married. Akhilesh,  Mulayam's elder son from his first wife, and Prateek are like two poles of a magnet. They repel and never meet. Even in family function one arrives but the other leaves just in time. The Choti Bahu also does her part. She goes and publicly touches BJP leader Rajnath Singh's feet, issues statements which make chief minister Akhilesh cringe and finds Congress leaders more amicable than the SP bandwagon. Aparna started working in this constituency a little late as she was not sure that she would get SP's ticket though her father-in-law had announced it a couple of months ago.


In the 2012, Rita Joshi won this seat as Congress candidate by a comfortable margin of 21,000 votes against BJP. This time around, Joshi has herself switched loyalty and is contesting as a BJP candidate. This seat with 1.73 lakh voters is dominated by around 78,000 Brahmins, 36,000 Thakurs and a significant Pahari (Hill) population. Rita Bahuguna Joshi is a Pahari Brahmin and Aparna in her maiden days was a Pahari Thakur.


A high-pitched campaign is on for this seat which will go to polls next Sunday.