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Loyalties last long in Kannauj

People here develop loyalties with leaders and parties and do not change them every five years….reports Asian Lite News

 ‘Ittar’, a non-alcohol based perfume, is known for being long-lasting and loyalties in Kannauj, the nation’s Ittar hub, also last long.

People here develop loyalties with leaders and parties and do not change them every five years.

For the SP and BJP candidates in Kannauj, this is a major advantage.

The Lok Sabha elections in Kannauj that goes to polls on May 13, turned high profile after SP President Akhilesh Yadav threw his hat into the ring here.

Former Uttar Pradesh (UP) CM, Akhilesh Yadav is contesting against Subrat Pathak, the sitting BJP MP, who defeated Dimple Yadav in 2019.

Pathak says that ex-CM Akhilesh’s entry has not made any difference to his prospects.

He says the election has only become like “a World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan” where the result is already known to all.

He is confident that the work done by the double engine governments will ensure a smooth victory for the BJP.

SP chief Akhilesh’s presence in the fray, meanwhile, has enthused the party cadres. The SP office in Sadar area is buzzing with activity as motorcycles whizz in and out.

Dimple Yadav and daughter Aditi Yadav are now campaigning for Akhilesh in Kannauj.

Prabal Pratap Singh, party in-charge for Kannauj Assembly constituency, says, “The excitement of voters and workers here speaks for itself. This time we are winning with a huge margin.”

Publicity vans are being sent out to all corners of the constituency and young men can be seen carrying bundles of campaign material for distribution among voters.

Others are busy cross-checking the details of voters at every booth.

The constituency has over 19 lakh voters, with Muslims accounting for around 3 lakh and Brahmins and Yadavs being slightly more than 2.5 lakh each.

Dalits, who constitute the biggest chunk with a population of over 4 lakh, may play a decisive role.

Rajputs, Vaishyas, Lodhs, and Kurmis are also present in significant numbers.

“If you exclude Jatavs, the rest of the Dalits have always been with the BJP. They are also the beneficiaries of various government schemes and their loyalty cannot be doubted,” says Vinay Awasthi, a BJP leader.

Though Dalits form a major chunk of the population, the BSP has never won the seat because Dalits here do not vote on caste lines. “We vote for those who get our work done,” says Umesh Gautam, a Jatav.

Dalits are largely disillusioned with the BSP because the party has never fielded ‘strong candidates’.

The BSP has fielded Imran Bin Jafar, who is likely to split Muslim votes in the constituency.

The BJP, however, is very much in the reckoning. “The Modi wave is far from over and the work done by state and central government will give the party candidate a big push.

“Victory and defeat will be by narrow margins here,” says Dinesh Kumar, a school teacher in Tirwa Assembly segment.

The Kannauj Lok Sabha seat has Assembly segments from three districts – Kannauj, Auraiya and Kanpur Dehat – which make any prediction difficult.

The winners from this constituency include Dr Ram Manohar Lohia in 1967, Sheila Dikshit in 1984 and Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1999.

The biggest problem in Kannauj relates to unemployment. Though the district has more than 100 cold storages and over 400 small ‘ittar’ manufacturing units, besides 23 private distilleries, there are many who find it tough to make ends meet.

Most Muslims and Dalits work as daily wagers, who may not find work for months together.

“Jobs are needed as much as good government colleges. One women’s college came up under the Akhilesh Yadav regime. We need one for the boys as well,” says Ravi Yadav, a government employee.

The ittar industry, however, has learnt to sustain itself over the years and remains unaffected by political churnings.

“Governments can certainly work to promote the industry but people who are working in this sector are all fourth-generation workers, be it the owners or the employees, and they remain unaffected by political changes,” says Nitish Tiwari, a perfumer.

One of the most ambitious projects of Kannauj is the ‘ittar park’ that is still unfinished though the land for the project was allotted before 2019.

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