Once calling the shots as the most powerful minister in Uttar Pradesh, Shivpal Singh Yadav is today ploughing a lonely furrow.
Fighting to redeem some of his lost pride in his native constituency, the 61-year-old brother of SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav is banking on sympathy of 3,65,535 voters after being sidelined by nephew Akhilesh Yadav.
If it is anything which has can be termed as positive for Shivpal at election time, it is the sympathy of the voters who have had a personal association with him for decades.
He might have been thrown out of the ministry but is still regarded as ‘mantriji’ here and does not need to remind voters of his works and personal help that he has rendered to the locals.
Though today he is treading the path alone with no bigwig coming over for campaigning, the support of his elder brother Mulayam, who started his campaign with a rally for him, has reestablished the bonding in the family.
Jaswantnagar, part of Mainpuri Lok Sabha seat, was represented by Mulayam who had won the seat first time in 1967. Winning it for eight terms he lost on two occasions he left it for Shivpal, who has won it four times since 1996.
In the last elections in 2012, Shivpal polled 1.33 lakh votes, beating his nearest opponent of Bahujan Samaj Party by over 80,000 votes.
Manish Yadav is the BJP contestant, but it appears to be of no major concern for Shivpal who believes he is on a safe wicket in the Yadav family stronghold.
BSP has fielded Durvesh Shakya in a field of 10.
In the previous elections, Shivpal had not spent much time in his constituency since he had to shoulder the responsibility of the state with his brother.
This time he is not even in the list of SP’s star campaigners and thus has enough time for his constituency.
For the last 20 days, he has been camping here addressing some 15 meetings a day motoring down the dusty roads moving from one village to another racing against time for the February 19 polling.