In the Battle of Ranis in Amethi, One Belongs to BJP, Other to Congress
BJP loyalists/leaders greet Union Minister Smriti Irani on stage in Amethi. (Courtesy: Eram Agha/News18.com)
Amethi: “For 40 years, Amethi has only been losing its maryada but in 2017, the original garima of the constituency will return,” echoed the voice of an elderly BJP leader in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. He was addressing the crowd of saffron supporters eagerly waiting for the chopper of Smriti Irani to land in Tikra (Maafi) for the Jan Sabha Sankalp.
By drawing parallels between the two ranis, the battle in Amethi regressed from electoral to the personal one and this is because, for the first time, the two Queens are face to face in a battle that is not about property or wealth, but about winning votes. Sanjay Singh’s first and estranged wife, Garima Singh, contesting elections on BJP ticket and his second wife Ameeta Singh, who has been an MLA on past occasions is contesting on Congress ticket.
Ever since the two have come together in the political fray, there has been a profusion of personal attacks in campaigns lending another dimension to Amethi’s electoral battle. In this sabha, we heard - “maryada”, “garima”, “asli rani”, “maharani aur nurse”, “Bharat ki sanskriti” and “charitravan,” to garner sympathy votes for the estranged wife of Singh.
While there was time for Irani to land a BJP leader Jamuna Prasad referred to Ameeta’s tenure in the constituency as “Nakli rani ka tandav”, going a step ahead was SP Singh Baghel, president of BJP OBC Morcha, he said, “Ek khoobsurat nurse se badsoorat maa achchi hai.” Clearly signaling who is better for the constituency and why.
Tej Bhan Singh, from the saffron party said, “She has suffered many attacks – was replaced by another woman. Janta was watching everything and since they are attached to the parivar they will be thinking about its honor and pride, it is their personal battle and we are seeing it as nyay ki ladaai.” The nyay or justice here means to “make the real rani win and get her justice by voting for her”, said farmer at the sabha. Keshav Prasad Singh, BJP mahamantri added, “woh vanchit rahi apne adhikar se. The first rani has a very good charitra and is sanskari.”
On the other hand, in Congress sadan the party supporters said that their discourse cannot stoop to such levels where personal matters will be drawn in, “We are not really worried about the sympathy votes because the same people earlier voted Ameeta ji to power. She has worked very hard to win this seat four times over. On the other hand the sympathy factor cannot be dismissed completely, it might affect our votes in some way” said a Congress worker on anonymity.
Ameeta lost to Samajwadi Party’s Gayatri Prajapati who won 58,434 votes while Ameeta got 49,674. The workers are confident she will win this time as the current MLA and SP candidate Prajapati has been shunned publicly for the charges on him, and public has several times voted for the second wife, so why not this time? Deepak Singh, Congress worker said, “The first rani is being seen now after decades, she has no connect with the people here and was always in Lucknow. Garima ji is mixing her personal battle with the elections. She is coming on stage and demanding nyay – votes are for performance not for pity. What can janta do here?”
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