KUSHINAGAR: With just a few hours left for the sixth phase of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, the three-storey residence of State Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu in Sewarhi town of the district is bustling with visitors.
As Lallu’s father Shivnath Prasad and his younger brother Praveen Kumar greet and mingle with the visitors, they make a point to stress the Congress leader is going to hit a hat-trick as the MLA from Tumkahi Raj constituency.
His father underlines that Lallu has worked selflessly for not only the people of his assembly constituency as a two-time MLA, but also for other areas of the district.
Speaking to The New Indian, Prasad said, “My son is going to win this election once again, because he has the support of the people here.”
Accusing the ruling BJP of indulging in petty politics, Prasad said, “We want more roads to be constructed and existing ones repaired, but BJP does not want it to happen.”
The 42-year-old leader won his first assembly election from Tumkahi Raj in 2012 and was re-elected from the constituency in 2017. “He was very good in studies. Before winning the assembly poll, he was active in student politics and won several elections during his college days.”
Lallu is third among the four brothers. While his eldest brother runs a shop in Deoria, the other two are in private sector jobs in Delhi, their father said.
The Congress leader has several cases registered against him and went to jail several times for staging protests and demonstrations against the policies of the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state.
Describing him as a “very simple boy”, Lallu’s father said the family sometimes worries for his safety. “We were never worried when he was beaten by the police and sent to jail. He is a very simple boy. Still as parents, we do worry for his safety.”
On being asked when Lallu would get married, his father laughed, “We want him to get married and settle down with the family here but he is not ready yet.”
Prasad termed the recent visit of Congress General Secretary (In Charge, Uttar Pradesh), Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to their home as “unexpected”. There were no plans of her visiting our home. She had told Lallu to meet us after her public meeting in Tumkahi Raj. We felt very good. She had expressed her desire to come here during COVID times, which was pending since Lallu was in jail.”
Lallu’s youther brother Praveen Kumar, who heads the human resources operations of a multinational company in Delhi, has been staying at their home for the last four month to organise public meetings and oversee the election campaigning.
“My brother is a ground-level worker. He knows everyone by their names, which shows that he is very closely connected with his constituents,” Praveen said, adding that the Congress leader has done an “excellent job” in his constituency, Tumkahi Raj.
Praveen said locals treat Lallu as a member of their family, and not as a legislator. “People connect with him very easily. Some people call him elder brother, some younger brother and the youngsters call him uncle,” he said.
Locals in Sewarhi Bazar with whom The New Indian interacted also reflected the view of Lallu’s family members.
Kamal Kumar applauded the legislator’s efforts for the development of the area and accused BJP of hindering the repair of roads in the area that are in a bad shape. “Lallu listens to the issues of every section of the society whether they are farmers or labourers. He would sit with them, try to understand their problems and work towards the solutions,” Kumar stated, hailing Lallu as a person of “computer mind” who knows so many people by their names.
Another local, Sheshnath Jaiswal, also said that Lallu has done a lot of work for the people. “Meeting him is the easiest task. He is easily approachable and he never lets them down,” Jaiswal said.
The two-time MLA, who has been credited with efforts to revive the fortunes of the grand old party in the state, faces a stiff competition in this flood-prone area this time.
To overthrow Lallu, BJP has fielded a Bhumihar leader Dr Asim Kumar and BJP has worked overtime to form a Bhumihar-Brahmin combination by bringing back senior leader Nand Kishore Mishra to the party fold. Mishra returned to the saffron party after being denied a ticket by the Samajwadi Party.
Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party has fielded Udainarayqn Gupta while BSP has placed its bet on Sanjay Gupta in the constituency that will vote on March 3.
Counting of votes for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls is scheduled to be held on March 10.