At first look, she reminds you of the simple, innocent and demure Bhagyashree in her blockbuster hit 1989 debut film, the Salman Khan starrer 'Maine Pyar Kiya'. She loves to be a home-maker most of the time, though very few would know – or expect – that she is an expert horse-rider. Her top priority is her husband and her three children, and her favorite pastime is spending time with the family.
Could such a woman be a politician, willing to take the grime and dust of the election trailin her stride, campaigning in the countryside and winning elections for her party. Many would answer with a resolute "No". But Dimple Yadav has proved her detractors wrong time and again.
The woman who created history by winning unopposed from Kannauj in the 2012 by-election, is ready to don the mantle of the political gladiator once again. In fact, in this Lok Sabha election, she would be the star campaigner of the SP. Party sources say the maximum demand from SP candidates all over UP is for the Yadav 'bahu' to campaign in their constituencies. A senior SP leader confirmed that while Mulayam and Akhilesh would address rallies, Dimple would lead road shows in the seats chosen as "winnable". She is also contesting the Kannauj seat again.
Though the string of hoardings featuring her prominently alongside Mulayam and Akhilesh Yadav have now been removed due to Election Commission rules, she has firmly established herself as a committed torch-bearer, strong campaigner and crowd-puller for the Mulayam brigade.
She is the sixth Yadav in Samajwadi Party (SP) partriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav's family to join politics. But her primacy in the Yadav clan is different as she is the wife of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav besides being the perfect 'bahu' who Mulayam dotes on.
Dimple belongs to a family from Uttarakhand with an army background. During her graduation in commerce from the Lucknow University, she met Akhilesh and the two fell in love. They got married when Akhilesh returned from Australia after getting his environmental engineering degree.
Those who know Dimple closely say her political status has not changed her at all. "We have always known her as a person who moulds herself according to the situation," says her close friend Sakshi. "Even though we don't meet frequently, I know that despite being an MP and the UP chief minister's wife, she is the same girl we knew."
Party leaders who have seen her campaign, admire her grit and gumption. "When she was fighting her first election in Ferozabad (against Raj Babbar in 2009), we were surprised at the energy with which she campaigned. Though she lost the election, the party got a strong and committed leader," says senior SP leader Naresh Agarwal. Attempts to contact Dimple on phone and via email failed to elicit any response.
Firsts to her credit
Dimple's victory from Kannauj in 2012 was historic for more reasons than one. She became the only woman MP whose husband was Chief Minister, and also one whose father-in-law was also a member of the same House (Lok Sabha). Dimple became the 44th person in the country and only the fourth in UP since Independence to be elected unopposed.