Supporters may have set up temples, written in blood, threatened immolation and bet on weirdest of superstitious beliefs, but none can match the sacrifice that this disabled die-hard fan of Akhilesh Yadav is making to see his idol back on the hot seat of UP.
Meet Rajkumar Yadav, a wrestler from Varanasi, who has pledged to give up the irresistible ‘banarsi paan’ till Akhilesh is back as UP’s chief minister.
Banarasi paan, for the uninitiated, is famous worldwide for the way it is served and its taste.
And resisting the same for one who is an addict is a big deal.
“I am addicted to paan but have now decided to quit it till my leader is back to where he belongs,” says Yadav, a well-known wrestler from the temple city.
His other wish is to hold a grand wrestlers’ meet and invite both Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav as chief guests in it.
“It’s a dream to see both Akhilesh Bhaiya and Netaji grace the event I get to host,” says the disabled wrestler who took the resolution around a fortnight back when the feud in the Samajwadi Party was at its peak.
A diehard Akhilesh supporter, the wrestler had first met his idol in 2007.
“It was in Saifai where I also took blessings from the SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav,” he boasts while applying mustard oil on his body.
He claims that he offers prayers daily for the success of Akhilesh in the polls. “It is good to see Akhilesh emerge as a strong leader in last one year. He seems to have learnt the tricks required to deal with intricacies of politics and teach a lesson to detractors in political arena,” says the wrestler, who is of same age as Akhilesh, a fact that only adds to his love for the CM.
Having won national wrestling competitions for the disabled and also many medals in local competitions, he currently coaches the budding wrestlers.
“I spend around two hours at Guru Ram Singh arena and give lessons on tricks of wrestling to budding wrestlers,” he says.
Back to Akhilesh, the wrestler says he is smitten with chief minister’s charming smile. “But it is the rejuvenation and beautification of Varuna corridor that has impressed me more,” he adds.
“I hope he is back at the helm and continues with the development work,” says the wrestler while hoping to catch up with his favourite paan soon.