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Congress’ Chairman Sahaab confident of victory in Jewar

Congress candidate from Jewar constituency, UP, Thakur Dhirendra Singh is greeted with garlands during his campaign in Mirzapur village.

Thakur Dhirendra Singh, the man who drove Rahul Gandhi on his bike to Bhatta and Parsaul despite prohibitory orders from the Mayawati government, belongs to one of the most prosperous and respected families in the Jewar region in western Uttar Pradesh. A visit to his residence in Rabupura region of Jewar and one will be amazed at his affluent lifestyle. Singh has a huge mansion with packs of swans flocking in the courtyard. His family owns five brick kilns and locals frequently approach him for help.

Even though this is the first time Singh is contesting elections on a Congress ticket, his family has been closely associated with the party for decades. While his grandfather was a Congress supporter and a freedom fighter, his father Hiri Singh served the Congress in Bulandshahar.

When the reporters reached Mirzapur to meet the man himself, they saw a strong built Dhirender Singh riding pillion on a bike. His convoy, which included a series of motorbikes and a jeep, was followed by a group of children running behind, calling out slogans in praise of Chairman Sahaab, as he is fondly called.

Interestingly, the meeting which took place at the residence of a lawyer in Mirzapur village was already jam-packed with locals. The lawyer admitted that he had taken a day's off when he heard that Singh was visiting his village. The supporters were treated with fresh milk and apples.

Singh is well articulate, poised and belongs to a rare breed of politicians who do not believe in mincing words. "Direct and blunt that is the trademark of our Chairman Sahaab," said one of the supporters at the venue.

Singh, who has been extensively touring the Jewar region, says that he wants to personally meet each individual in the constituency.

When quizzed about how confident he was contesting against veteran politicians fielded by other parties, he said, "I am no stranger here, this is my home. I know the people here and understand their problems. The people are becoming politically aware and have realised for the first time that only the Congress can bring development in the area." Singh has promised two fundamental things to the people in the constituency. "The issues of land acquisition and law and order problems have to be addressed. The BSP government and other regional parties have failed the people in the past. Now, I decided to stand because I am a local and understand the problems."

Dhirendra Singh also rubbished the popular belief that the Congress will join hands with the Samajwadi Party after the elections. "Regional parties have destroyed UP in the past decade. I am personally against an alliance with SP and even the party bosses are unwilling to tie-up with Mulayam Singh."

Recollecting the incident when he drove Rahul Gandhi on his bike, he said: "In the wee hours of 7 May 2011, I received a phone call and learnt that Rahul Gandhi had arrived in the area and was a kilometre away from Parsaul. When I brought him in the village and told people that Rahulji had come to fight for their cause, nobody believed me. The villagers were tensed and did not trust Rahul Gandhi. However, after he joined the struggle with the villagers and he carried out his padh yatra in June, they realised that he was different from other politicians. His hard work across Uttar Pradesh will pay us handsome dividends."

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