Dimple Yadav is an underestimated politician. The Yadav bahu (daughter-in-law) has mostly stayed away from major politicking during the ongoing Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections, even as her husband and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav involves himself in a bitter war of words with rival politicians.
But a TV journalist got to see Dimple’s combative side during an interview this week. The Samajwadi Party MP from Kannauj weighed in while her husband was being grilled on surging crime in Uttar Pradesh. The law and order has always been an election talking point during polls in Uttar Pradesh, always seen making the Samajwadi Party leadership nervous. There is a perception and some proof that the socialist outfit is soft on criminals, many of who have found enjoying patronage from influential party leaders.
But it looked like that Dimple wanted to challenge that, and she sure did a good job of it. The top daughter-in-law doggedly stuck to her guns as she defended the state’s law and order, even going on to accuse TV journalist Rahul Kanwal of being biased against UP. Here’s how the conversation went,
Dimple: Policing is now reaching the interior parts of Uttar Pradesh. People are starting to realise police presence. There will be major improvement in coming days.
TV journalist: But what about reports that there are police stations that are still unmanned?
Dimple cuts Rahul Kanwal off.
Dimple: Tell me one thing. Did you publicise what happened in Kutch?
TV journalist: Yes, we did. We even publicised what happened in Una (Uttar Pradesh).
Dimple: I am not talking about Una. I am talking about Kutch. There were some BJP leaders who were involved in the Kutch incident? Did you highlight it enough?
TV journalist: There were some SP leaders involved in rape incidents here.
Akhilesh Yadav: That’s wrong.
Dimple to the TV journalist: Don’t be biased. I am trying to put a point across you. There were 30-35 girls who had been trapped by BJP leaders. What did you do about it?
Did you show it on your prime time?
Isn’t it your responsibility to make sure they get justice?
TV journalist: We showed what happened in Delhi.
Dimple: I am not talking about what happened in Delhi. Such incidents happen everyday in Delhi.I think Delhi is the most unsafe city in the world.
I am questioning you.
Sensing tension and finding the journalist speechless, CM Akhilesh stepped in.
The Kutch incident that Dimple was referring to during her exchange with Kanwal involves a bunch of BJP leaders accused of raping a woman in the Kutch region in Gujarat. According to news reports, three out of the 8 accused alleged to have raped the woman were members of the BJP, which considers Gujarat as its stronghold. The incident was reported in the second week of February, and has since garnered a lot of local media attention.
However, as Dimple highlighted, the national media has failed to give the incident the same prominence that it would have given to a similar case in Uttar Pradesh.
Dimple has been seen as a reluctant politician who, until recently, hadn’t taken an independent political stand and had steered clear of big-ticket political issues.
However, she is starting to emerge from the shadow of her CM husband of late. The 39-year old has in recent months emerged as the woman face of the party. An election poster during the ongoing polls showed Dimple trying to woo women voters to vote for the party by promising household items if the Samajwadi Party gets re-elected.