Families brave heat n' dust for candidates in UP polls (Election Special)
Not just candidates, their families too are braving the sweltering summer heat as they hit the campaign trail to seek votes for their brothers, fathers, husbands and other relations.
Uttar Pradesh has a long list of such families who are pitching in for their politically inclined family members.
If you have Savitri Singh, wife of BJP president Rajnath Singh, who is campaigning for her busy husband in Lucknow, Congress candidate Rita Bahuguna Joshi has her son Mayank and daughter-in-law Richa going through the rigmarole of traditional campaigning in the narrow bylanes of old city.
Richa is canvassing with the women team and coordinating the social media aspect of campaigning while her husband is planning rallies for his mother throughout the city.
Rajnath Singh's sons Pankaj and Neeraj and their wives are also in the core team of the BJP leader and they are busy taking part in election dos like 'mehndi' programmes, bhajan sandhya's and also community kitchens.
Rajnath's sister Madhu Singh is also campaigning for him.
"Household chores can wait, for now it is India first," she says.
Television actor Javed Jaaferi is ably assisted by his wife Habiba.
Normally she handles the actors television production house but in Lucknow she is also his campaign manager.
She organizes the tour plans of Jaaferi, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Lucknow, and also looks after his diet during the campaign trail.
"She is putting in overtime to ensure that Jaaved does not have any problems," Vaibhav Maheshwari, state spokesman of AAP who accompanies the TV star, told IANS.
Poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas, who is pitted against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in the high-profile Amethi, has his wife Manju by his side.
Having spent the last 40 days in Amethi touring the countryside, Vishwas's health has taken some beating, says a close aide. But with his wife around "things have now improved".
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is camping in a government guest house at Munshiganj, devising the best strategies for her brother Rahul and mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
She addresses a minimum of 10-12 big and small meetings in the two constituencies apart from coordinating with local leaders and acting as bridge between them and the Delhi election war room at the Tughlaq road residence of Rahul Gandhi.
"Her coming to the campaign has been a great breather as people see her as a representative of the Gandhis and it makes all the difference," says a local Congress leader.
Off and on she has her children Raihan and Miraya visting her.
UP's young and tech savvy Science and Technology Minister Abhishek Mishra who was at the last minute pushed into the fray in Lucknow by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) leadership is also assisted by his wife Swati who is "moving in her circles to pitch for her husband".
An ex-IIM professor, the 37-year-old is also being helped by a "bunch of well wishers who are tech savvy and young".
With the Election Commission (EC) gagging his voice and embargoing his movement, UP's loud mouth minister Mohd Azam Khan has got his engineering student son by his side now.
Abdullah Khan, 21, youngest of the two siblings recently gave a high-decibel speech at a rally in Tanda and passionately appealed to the supporters of his father's party to see the fine print behind the gag order on his father's speech.
After a brief break from his education at a private engineering college in Noida, Abdullah is back to studies, but he is keen to "pitch in again for his abba".
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav too has his family behind him. Though not publicly.
Insiders say his wife Sadhna Yadav takes care of his medicines and food whenever 'neta ji' leaves the sprawling bungalow at Vikramaditya Marg for campaigning. She is the one who passes instructions to security officers Niyaz and others to ensure that the former UP chief minister has his routine medications, butter milk and Threptin biscuits to energize him through the dust n' heat of elections.
Mulayam's younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav has already pitched in with her voice in a campaign song for her ageing father-in-law.
Mulayam's elder son Akhilesh Yadav is UP's chief minister and is busy with his bit while his wife Dimple, also contesting from Kannauj for a second term keeps tab on the social networking interface of her husband.
"She keeps an eye on the facebook account and other things and keeps bhaiyya informed of the day's developments on his BBM," a close aide told IANS.
BJP's star candidate from Mathura, yesteryears dream girl Hema Malini, has her two daughters - Esha and Ehana, along with their hubbies, by her side.
All the four have off and on joined Hema during the campaign trail in the Brij area and her husband Dharmendra is also likely to join her soon.
Baba Hardeo Singh, a retired officer and now AAP candidate from Mainpuri, is also finding "help from his extended family".
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at email@example.com)
(Posted on 20-04-2014)