The Telegraph
Thursday , April 3 , 2014
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Relative boon, rebel trouble
Poll duty for dad, hubby? Anytime

“It’s all about loving your family,” Karan Johar had said while promoting his magnum opus Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, but he might have well been talking about relatives of Jamshedpur’s MP hopefuls.

Mujhse sawal poochiye, main aapse yahan baat karne aaya hoon (Ask me questions, I am here to answer your queries),” strapping law executive Aditya Kumar (24) asks Jaiprakash Nagar residents in Kadma on Tuesday.

Soft-spoken Aditya, eldest son of JVM’s nominee and sitting MP Ajoy Kumar, works in a Delhi firm but hit the poll roadshow to “feel the pulse and help my father in this fight”.

Ajoy away in campaigns in the hinterland of Jamshedpur, son Aditya and a small team of a dozen persons, was seen visiting urban slums and residential complexes in Kadma on Tuesday and Sonari on Wednesday. “I was a student in 2011 when dad won the bypoll. This time, I am older and I thought let me try and hear what people are saying,” Aditya said, adding he took a weeklong holiday for the campaign.

What’s the feedback? “Slum-dwellers do complain about bijli, paani and naali (power, water and drainage), but overall feedback is good. People hope my father will do good work. I tell them he’s got less than two-and-half years, give him another 60 months. I’ve visited Musabani and Bagbera earlier, I want to meet people of the bar association, college-goers and so on,” Aditya, who has to leave for Delhi on April 4 for work, said.

If Ajoy has son rising, his BJP and JMM rivals have the better-half factor.

Usha, wife of BJP candidate Bidyut Baran Mahto, says she is wooing “49 per cent of voters” in the constituency.

“I believe in door-to-door campaigns. So, I am trying to visit every woman possible to listen to her daily problems. I have not promised anyone anything but have only assured women that if he (her husband) wins, he will use funds equitably,” Usha, who visited Patamda on Wednesday, said.

On how she manages to campaign in the heat, she smiled. This is her fourth time, she lets on shyly, “the three times were for his Assembly polls”.

Rupa, the articulate wife of JMM candidate Niroop Mahanty, said she thinks of herself as strategist and sounding board for her husband to whom she’s been married for nearly four decades.

She prefers going to residential societies such as Vijaya’s Golden Town and Ashiana Gardens. “Instead of shouting slogans, I prefer chats with voters,” she said.

“When my husband got this chance to contest polls, we jointly decided why not take this an opportunity to serve the country instead of just grumbling about the system. When I meet people, I just ask them to elect the person who understands you, who has a good track record, who will stay and who will deliver,” she said.

The loyal wife added: “Given a chance, Mr Mahanty will change the situation.”

Have you met any of these campaign relatives?