Dimple Yadav: An ecstatic first lady of the Samajwadi party


Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav is on cloud nine. And she has every reason to be. The party, helmed by her husband Akhilesh, performed remarkably well in the recent bypolls, trouncing the well-entrenched BJP in the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

It was the same state that seated and unseated Dimple’s husband as chief minister; it was the same state that signalled the end of Yadav era by bringing in the rule of Yogi Adityanath. The SP-Congress alliance did not work; neither did the apne ladke (our boys) slogan. Congress scion Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party heir Akhilesh Yadav had teamed up to give the BJP a run for its money, but they were no match for the saffron party’s aggressive campaigning, riding on the disenchantment against Akhilesh’s rule. His alliance with the Congress had raised many brows within the party. He, after getting the chief ministership on a platter in 2012, was somewhat on his own.

Dimple became a star campaigner in those polls. But she has been in the forefront for some years now. She lost her first election from Firozabad in 2009. Pitted against film star Raj Babbar, the petite Dimple met her match. Three years down the line, she won from the Kannauj Lok Sabha constituency, which her husband vacated to enter the state legislative council. She was elected unopposed, making her the 44th in the country, and the fourth in the state since the independence to be so. The BJP and the Congress had not fielded any candidate; two others who filed nominations withdrew it. That left the field clear for Dimple, and it was a smooth sail to the Parliament sans the heat, grime and dust of elections. By winning unopposed, Dimple joined the league of stalwarts like Farooq Abdullah of National Conference from Srinagar in 1980, P.M. Sayeed of the Congress from Lakshadweep in 1971 and Congress’ Yashwantrao Chavan from Nashik in 1963 among others. Dimple also has the distinction of being the first woman from the state to be elected unopposed in a Lok Sabha election.

Even while her performance as an MP leaves much to be desired, given that she rarely participates in debates, Dimple regularly attends the House she is elected to. She is often seen in the company of film star-turned-MP Jaya Bachchan. The senior among the two, Jaya wields enough influence on Dimple. It was their friendship that helped Jaya get another term as Rajya Sabha MP, against the claims of her party colleague Naresh Agrawal, who too had laid claim for the Rajya Sabha seat. Reports have it that it was Dimple Yadav who pushed Jaya Bachchan’s case with her husband Akhilesh.

Among many other things, Jaya and Dimple have one thing in common: their aversion to politician Amar Singh. It is common knowledge that Amar Singh fell through with the Bachchans, like he did with Akhilesh Yadav. Singh was the key factor of the rift between Akhilesh and his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, following Yadav senior’s re-induction of Singh into the Samajwadi Party. Akhilesh’s aversion to Singh is no secret as is Dimple’s, except the young Yadav bahu refrains from speaking about this. She is on record to state that she “avoids” such people and switches off the television when she sees Singh appear: “I don’t even allow my children to watch him on television,” she had once said. Jaya Bachchan had also made her aversion clear, but does not comment on Singh and his antics publicly. For Dimple, Amar Singh is a “thing of the past”.

Nicknamed Tipu by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh is often referred to as bhaiya (brother), by his wife: “I get so confused sometimes because everyone calls him bhaiya, and I often end up calling him the same”. That theirs was a love marriage is well known. Akhilesh used his grandmother to prevail upon his dad to agree to the marriage. Dimple was not Mulayam Singh Yadav’s first choice given that she was a Rajput and an army officer’s daughter. But Akhilesh had been dating her for a few years and knew she was the girl for him. They married young; Dimple only 21 and Akhilesh four years older. Politics was not on Dimple’s radar, but once it happened, she plunged headfirst. Today, she can speak about nutrition and education with as much ease as triple talaq: “These are issues close to my heart”, she says even while admitting that politics has taken away her “private space” and “fun time” with her husband and three kids. It has also led to her putting away her jeans, breeches and riding shoes because as a Yadav bahu, a politician’s wife and the daughter in law of a conservative and traditional household, Dimple dons sarees and vermilion; quite contrary to the image of a carefree girl playing football, cricket and even kabaddi.

But she has slipped into the role well, nurturing dreams of launching a designer brand of her own one fine day. “Yes, I have always wanted to do business and want to pursue my dream of having a label of my own,” she says adding, “I am in politics but I am not a politician”. As a young girl she imagined herself being in some “big company” and working for a corporate group.

Soft spoken and petite, Dimple is not very forthcoming while talking about herself. But talk about issues and she switches from monosyllabic answers to a spiel on what is and should not be. The refrain: nothing in UP is as it was or what it should be. Her husband she says worked hard to bring it back on track but after he stepped down “nothing is the same”.

In or out of power, Dimple remains a hot favourite of people in the state. If there is a constant demand by party workers that bahuji, daughter in law, should campaign, the kids in the state capital see her as a “nice aunty”.

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