Battle for UP: How Politicians Transform into Human Beings in Elections

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Ministers begin to play with street kids, they embrace slum dwellers and shun their security cover while taking morning walks where they interact with bewildered residents.

LUCKNOW — When elections knock at the door, politicians magically transform into human beings.

Ministers begin to play with street kids, they embrace slum dwellers and shun their security cover while taking morning walks where they interact with bewildered residents.

Legislators walk into the homes of their voters, touch the feet of elders and even demand a cup of tea from ‘bhabhiji’.

They have no qualms of sitting down at roadside tea shops and mingling with the locals.

“Election is undoubtedly the best time for voters. The same ministers and legislators who used to rudely turn us away from their gates, are now trying to be over-friendly. This season will end after March 10 and we are making the most of it,” said Rudra Pratap Ghildiyal, a senior citizen from Lucknow.

A few days ago, UP minister Siddhartha Nath Singh was spotted trying to fry ‘pakodas’ (fritters) at an eatery in Prayagraj, which is his constituency, while exchanging pleasantries with the local people.

“He even goes out to buy vegetables and fruits these days to prove that he is one of us,” said one of his neighbours.

Another minister from Prayagraj, Nand Gopal Nandi, is also going overboard in campaigning.

From making tea at a tea stall to sitting next to an auto driver, Nandi is trying hard to endear himself to his voters.

In Lucknow, UP minister Ashutosh Tandon now takes time to greet shopkeepers and neighbours in his locality, Chowk.

“Since the past five years, we would wave out to him and he would speed away in his car, without even looking at us. Now, even when we choose to ignore him, he stops and greets us,” said a neighbour who did not wish to be identified.

A BJP legislator in Deoria has stopped eating at home ever since the election season arrived.

“Sharing a meal is the best way to connect with people. I walk into the homes of my people and have breakfast, lunch and dinner with them. Since I go unannounced – and without any aides or security men – I insist on eating whatever is prepared already. Initially, there was hesitation but then I used to ask for stale roti or bread with tea and then people started responding favourably,” said the BJP MLA on condition of anonymity.

He explained that this was the perfect way to dilute whatever anger people may have had in the past.

“I confess that I have not been able to do much because the bureaucracy remained hostile towards us during the past five years. Even the Covid period was a major problem and people were angry with me but the anger seems to be subsiding now,” he said.

A woman minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, known for her arrogance, has also transformed with the announcement of elections.

One of her security personnel said, “She now even remembers to ask us if we have taken our meals. Earlier, she would lose her temper at visitors and people from her constituency if they pestered her for a favour but now, they are all treated to a hot cup of tea.”

According to political analysts, this dramatic change in behaviour is mainly due to the curbs on physical campaigning.

“There are no rallies and no mass meetings. Candidates have to depend on personal equations and door-to-door campaigning so they are making an extra effort to put their best foot forward,” said senior journalist H Siddiqui. — IANS

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