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UP polls 2017: In echoes of his father, Pankaj Singh tells voters he’s one of them

Fighting the outsider tag in Noida assembly seats today, Pankaj Singh tells a public gathering he knows every lane of the township.

uttar pradesh elections, up polls, up elections, uttar pradesh elections 2017, pankaj singh, rajnath singh, rajnath singh son, lok sabha elections, noida assemb;y seats, pankaj singh outsider, BJP youth sing, indian express news, india news, elections updates Pankaj Singh addresses a public meeting in Noida. PTI photo

The way he delivers his speeches resembles that of his father, as do the promises he makes. And like Rajnath Singh years earlier, Pankaj Singh too is facing the allegation that he is an outsider in the seat he is contesting.

Rajnath, now Union home minister, had been described by rivals as an outsider when he had contested the Lok Sabha election to Ghaziabad. Fighting the same tag in Noida assembly seats today, his son tells a public gathering he knows every lane of the township.

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“Log kehte hai Pankajji ke liye Noida naya hai. Mera rishta is shahar se 20 sal purana hai. Mein janata hoon kahan achcha parantha milta hai, kahan achchi chai. (My relationship with this township is 20 years old. I know where one gets good paranthas, and where good tea),” Pankaj says.

“If you have any problem you need to resolve, you cannot do it by just living here; you need to worry about it. The SP and BSP contestants live here, yet they have done nothing about it.” Pankaj’s SP opponent is Sushil Chaudhary and BSP rival Ravikant Mishra.

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Read | With Pankaj Singh, Noida’s Aghapur wants to once again become village within city

Pankaj, Rajnath’s eldest son, has had a long grounding in politics before earning his first ticket. Active in politics since 2002, he became a member of BJP youth wing in 2004, and is today BJP general secretary in UP. BJP leaders recall how, in 2007, Pankaj turned down an offer to contest the assembly poll from Varanasi. Pankaj had said he still had a lot to learn, the decision reportedly taken after consulting his father.

Rajnath is credited with having groomed Pankaj in poll management. His last Lok Sabha campaign was managed by Pankaj, an MBA from Amity Business School in Noida.

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On campaign, Rajnath has often said he never makes promises to voters other than assuring them that he will try to solve their problems.

Pankaj takes a leaf out of his father’s book when he tells an Uttarakhand Sabha in Noida, “I won’t make promises but will promise to keep the right things in front of you, and work with you.”

He flaunts his connection to Uttarakhand; his wife Sushma hails from there. “I don’t know how I should address you, for ‘Bhai-Behen’ doesn’t sound right. You all are from my sasuraal. My wife is from Uttarakhand. And this is the privilege of being a son-in-law — you get not one but two mikes to speak into.”

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With him is former Uttarakhand CM Ramesh Pokhariyal. “Your sister Sushma too is campaigning. And after mine is over, she will go to campaign for her father who is contesting from Uttarakhand,” he says.

It is family again that he invokes when he attacks the Samajwadi Party. “SP pad par bane rehne ke liye chahe chahca ho ya pita ho, rishto ki tilanjali de dete ho, to janata ka kya karoge. The SP has sacrificed uncle and father to be in power, we can’t imagine what they will do with the people,” he says.

Union ministers campaigning in Noida have been telling voters that had they got a majority in Rajya Sabha, they could have passed many bills, and for that Uttar Pradesh needs to elect the BJP.

Pankaj has been reminding voters how the Urban Development Ministry has contributed in making the Metro a reality for Noida while the SP government has put up hoardings claiming credit.

First published on: 09-02-2017 at 03:06:37 am
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