Lucknow: Kannauj, the perfume capital of the country, does not smell good right now. Traditionally, a Samajwadi bastion, the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat which has Dimple Yadav as its sitting MP, seems undecided about its choice in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Dimple Yadav had created a record of sorts when she got elected from Kannauj unopposed in 2012 when her husband Akhilesh Yadav vacated his seat after becoming the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. She had earlier faced defeat in a by-election in Ferozabad in 2009.
In 2014, however, Dimple Yadav won the seat with a narrow margin.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Subrat Pathak, who had lost to her in 2014. This time around, Pathak is using Dimple Yadav's inaccessibility to the people of Kannauj to push his own case.
"She is never available for the people of Kannauj. Many of them who travel to Lucknow are also unable to meet her.
"Dimple comes here rarely and that too for specific programmes. Today, people want their representative to be accessible to them and this is a major factor that is going against her," says Ram Nagina Misra, a local school teacher.
The people of Kannauj admit that a great deal of development took place in the constituency when Akhilesh Yadav was in power.
"We got roads, electricity and good water supply during the Samajwadi regime but there is no one to help us with issues related to police, etc. Dimple should have spent at least 10 to 15 days in her constituency every month," says Raju Patel.
Vivek Singh, a local BJP worker, informs that they have been working since 2014 and have reached out to every nook and corner of the constituency. "When elections ended in 2014, we never stopped working for the people. The people know that they can depend on us in times of crisis.
"It is certainly not going to be a cakewalk for Dimple Yadav this time," he asserts.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate in 2014 Nirmal Tiwari, who had got 1.27 lakh votes has now joined the BJP which explains the upbeat mood in the saffron camp.
What, however, is working in Dimple's favour is the fact that this time, her party is in alliance with the BSP and she can hope to get the support of Dalits too.
According to BJP estimates, the constituency has about five lakh upper caste votes. Lodhi Rajputs, traditional supporters of the BJP, are about two lakh. The party's plan is to limit the SP into Yadav and Muslim votes, which is around 4.5 lakh in number.
"The 2017 Assembly elections proved that the SP and BSP base has eroded in the district. We will win hands down this time," says Subrat Pathak.
Dimple Yadav rests her hopes on youth support. She is popularly known as ‘Bhabhiji' in the constituency and slogans like "Vikas ki chabhi, Dimple bhabhi" rent the air when she campaigns.
In her speeches, she restricts herself to the major developmental projects taken up in husband Akhilesh's regime. "Samajwadiyon ka kaam bolta hai-from Agra Expressway to Metro, SP has done it all".
Dimple's team that includes Abhishek Yadav, Yogesh Yadav, Mayank Singh and others, say that the response from the ground is marvellous. "The youth and women are with her. The BJP tries to create problems using caste, but we solve issues using caste. The cadre and workers of SP and BSP work as an engine to ensure the victory of alliance candidates."