Don’s wife, sanyasi spice up the Lok Sabha poll battle in MP

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 21 April 2014 | 08.20

BHOPAL: Presence of some unusual candidates from different constituencies has spiced up the contest for Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh this time around. These whacky candidates, some lesser known and some very familiar, are in their own way challenging the heavyweights. The list of unusual and whacky candidates contesting from Madhya Pradesh is quite impressive with the wife of a don and a 'sanyasi' both seeking votes for a seat in Parliament, from Bhopal that goes to polls on April 17.

For most such unusual candidates, it is the spirit of participation that keeps them going rather than the final results.

Sheeba Malik, 47, wife of 'don' Mukhtar Malik, is in fray on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Sheeba has been actively campaigning in parts of Old city and city outskirts where her husband Malik has some influence. The woman's is confident about her husband's clout and hopes to win. To send the message loud and clear, all her banners and posters also prominently display Malik's image.

Not just her husband, the middle-aged woman too has criminal cases pending against her. She has mentioned about three cases including that of voluntarily causing hurt pending against her in her nomination papers. Malik was last arrested in September 2012. He has dozens of cases registered against him and has been also charged under National Security Act (NSA).

However, when it comes to agenda, "My main issue is to get justice for gas victims", is the only thing which Sheeba told TOI.

Giving Sheeba some competition is Mahant Gopal Das, a 'sanyasi' who has thrown his hat in the electoral ring as an independent candidate. Clad in saffron attire, Gopal Das, who heads an ashram in Kanda Khurd village of Bhopal, appeals, "The people should vote me in such a way that security deposits of all other candidates are forfeited."

Referring to his political experience, he said, "In 1996, which I tried to contest against Murli Manohar Joshi from Allahabad, where also I have an ashram. But then only I filled my nomination and did not contest," says the Mahant. "This time I am contesting because I feel that it's the call of the day. It is my duty to contest and serve people," he said.

But these are not the isolated ones — meet 70-year old Bano Bi of Mandsaur who is contesting the 17th election of her life. Coming from a poor family Bano Bi collects money through the five years to contest elections. She does so with the help of a group of fellow women. All deposit Rs100 every week and they use the collections by turn once in few months.

"If required I ask from my daughter-in-laws to chip in, however, most of the times money is not required. This time I have submitted Rs 25,000 as security deposit and recently took out Rs 5,000 each from two of my women groups. I will use Rs 5,000 for printing publicity material and with the rest of the money I will campaign," Bano Bi told TOI.

When asked why she contests every election she replies, "I will win some day, Allah (god) will pay for my efforts. I am contesting my 8th Lok Sabha elections this time. Last year was my 8th assembly elections and I have also contested one municipal council election," she said.

"My election journey began when I contested as an independent after being expelled from Congress. I received 18,000 votes. The party thought that I was worthless, but I came third and was the cause for their defeat," said Bano Bi.

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