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UP Elections: BJP's Surprise Candidate Tries to Get Past the Ghost of Hathras as Rape Victim's Family Awaits Job, House

BJP's Hathras candidate Anjula Mahaur is a Dalit herself, and is raising the women’s security plank strongly in her campaign. (Aman Sharma/News18.com)

BJP's Hathras candidate Anjula Mahaur is a Dalit herself, and is raising the women’s security plank strongly in her campaign. (Aman Sharma/News18.com)

Uttar Pradesh elections 2022: Labelled an “outsider” by local BJP leaders who protested her candidature, the party’s Hathras candidate Anjula Mahaur has made women’s safety the focus of her campaign a year after a Dalit girl was raped and murdered here.

“Every BJP worker and leader stands with the Hathras victim’s family” — so says the party’s surprise woman candidate from Hathras, Anjula Mahaur, who is fighting her first Assembly election but not without a struggle of her own. Mahaur’s candidature saw a spirited protest by local BJP workers who termed her an “outsider”.

For more than a year, Hathras became synonymous with the rape and murder of a Dalit girl who was cremated in the dead of the night. The case brought women’s security to the fore again in Uttar Pradesh.

At the house of the victim, there is a posse of almost 10 CRPF men standing guard for the security of the family. “We don’t know much about politics… if all parties help us, get us speedy justice and make our voice reach the government, it will be good,” the brother of the victim told News18.

In an interview to News18 in Hathras, Anjula Mahaur said: “It was a major incident, unfortunate and sad. But the Yogi Adityanath government did everything possible and speedily — from taking care of the victim’s family, helping them financially, normalising the law and order situation and giving the family the assurance that the government is with them. Every BJP worker and leader is with them.”

Mahaur is a Dalit herself, and is raising the women’s security plank strongly in her campaign for Uttar Pradesh elections 2022.

Women’s security is a major issue for the BJP government. Yogi Adityanath made anti-Romeo squads and gave a sense of safety and security to women of all age groups. There is a difference of heaven and earth in the situation today, women today feel safe. If law and order is good, all other things will fall in line too,” said Mahaur.

Her chief opponent in the election here is BSP’s Sanjiv Kumar Kaka who says the BJP failed in every aspect, including the Hathras case. All three Opposition parties – BSP, Samajwadi Party and Congress – have put up Jatav candidates.

“This is expected to divide the Jatav vote and help the BJP win again. The Hathras case has polarised the upper caste vote bank in our favour as a wide majority of people believe the upper caste boys have been falsely implicated in the case,” a local BJP leader said, not wishing to be identified.

The victim’s brother said such questions should now rest, given that the CBI has submitted a chargesheet, all accused are in jail, and the trial is on. “However, the fast track trail that was promised to us by the CM has not happened. We thought the case would conclude in December, but now we are being given dates after a month’s interval,” he said.

The family appreciated the CRPF security cover, saying the atmosphere earlier was of fear and insecurity. “We have got compensation but not the job and house yet, which was promised. The government wants to give us a house in Hathras, but we want one in Noida or Ghaziabad to make a fresh start,” the brother of the victim said. The family has approached the Allahabad High Court.

Protests Against Mahaur

Mahaur is the former Mayor of Agra, co-incharge of the women’s morcha of UP BJP and has been in-charge of Hathras district earlier. But her candidature saw protests from some local BJP leaders as sitting BJP MLA Hari Shankar Mahaur was dropped, and some termed her a “bahari” (outsider).

“My father was a Tehsildar here, I spent my childhood in Hathras. I have been district in-charge of Hathras earlier and have worked on the organisation here. My leadership has given a chance to an ordinary worker like me to fight from here. It is the beauty of BJP that every worker has the right to seek a ticket, we have democracy in the party. Once ticket is announced and nomination done, we are all together. Now everybody is with me in this election,” said Mahaur.

Hari Shankar Mahaur visited her on Friday after she filed her nomination and assured her full support.

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