A tough battle in Kannauj for this former IPS officer

If anyone could go back, he would have been in his uniform, overseeing law and order in his district and managing elections. He is now in khadi, contesting his first election.

Former IPS officer Aseem Arum, who entered politics last month when he quit his job and joined the BJP, is a candidate for the seat of Kannauj, a seat considered a Samajwadi stronghold.

The BJP, however, is buoyed by the fact that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections it managed to defeat Dimple Yadav, then MP for Kannauj and wife of Samajwadi party leader Akhilesh Yadav.

In his first election, Aseem Arun faces three-time SP MP Anil Dohre, who has described him as an outsider and political tourist.

Dohre pushes the narrative strongly as a contest between one who wasn’t with the people and someone who is still approachable.

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Dohre says: “BJP don’t believe in locals, that’s why they brought foreigner in. People want to get rid of BJP this time. All development was done by SP. BJP was only there to claim credit. He (Arun) is not in the running.”

The SP has held this seat since 1996.

Arun opposes this with the help of social media campaigns and short video messages released daily.

“My father was born and raised in Khair Nagar in Thatiya in Kannauj. Even when I was in service I stayed close to my roots, my mother was deeply involved in social work. My wife and I were part of it” , he said. .

He adds: “I’m not an outsider. People are already comparing me positively to others and that irritates opponents.”

“I will dedicate myself to work for SC/ST (scheduled castes/scheduled tribes) and marginalized communities. I join the BJP which has done a lot for the underprivileged and I will go further,” he said.

Aseem Arun is staying in a simple hotel room from where he is campaigning.

He leaves early in the morning with the aim of visiting seven villages during the day. His wife Jyotsana and two sons cover the other villages.

“We try to reach as many people as possible. We have a strong social media team in place. At first people called me commissioner Sahab, I told them that I left the police officer in Kanpur , I am your Asim, your representative,” he said.

At a meeting in a village, Arun says the law and order situation is better than before, giving an example of how a kidnapped boy was rescued by the police in just six hours. “Was it possible under the SP regime? he asks.

Kannauj goes to the polls in the third phase on February 20.

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