Here is the state of play: a “fraudulently” divorced royal wife seeking justice through voters for the “injustice meted out to her by her husband”; the present wife calling herself the (real) “rani (queen)” and seeking votes in the name of “Maharaj (king)”; the former royal wife’s son and daughters campaigning for justice for their mother; but the son is contesting as an Independent candidate against his mother.
This is the plot unfolding in the Amethi assembly constituency that goes to polls in the fifth phase of UP polls. BJP candidate Garima Singh, 61, is locked in a fight with Amita Singh, 54, the Congress candidate. Garima Singh was married to Amethi royal Sanjay Singh, and Amita Singh is his wife now. Sanjay Singh is a Rajya Sabha member from Assam.
As dusk descends, residents of Amethi’s Bhojpur village gather to listen to Garima Singh. She had once fought a legal battle against Sanjay Singh, alleging that he got the divorce decree by misleading the court as someone else was produced as Garima Singh.
A motorcade arrives and Garima Singh gets off as supporters raise slogans — one of which goes, “Nyay anyay ki ladaai mein, Rani Garima ko nyay dilaayenge (We will get justice for Rani Garima in this fight between justice and injustice).” She is accompanied by her daughters Mahima and Shaivya Singh, and daughter-in-law Shambhavi Singh.
“She is my mother. She was married 45 years ago. I used to go and play with my father. Everybody was happy. But 24 years ago, we had to face exile. She moved to Lucknow with us. After my marriage, I couldn’t go to my parental place even once,” Mahima says.
Garima Singh speaks next and her address lasts barely a few minutes. It ends with her spreading her ‘aanchal’, seeking support. Predicting a BJP victory in Amethi, party leader Abhishek Kumar Mishra explains why Garima Singh’s son, Anant Vikram Singh, filed his papers as an independent. “He thought if his mother’s papers get rejected, at least he would be in the fray.”
At Sonari village, former minister of state and Congress candidate “Rani Amita Singh” makes a pitch for Amethi’s development. Amita Singh, a former badminton player, once faced charges for conspiring with Sanjay Singh to kill her first husband, eight-time national badminton champion Syed Modi. They were absolved.
She blames the BJP for creating a rift in her family and reminds people of her and “Maharaj” Sanjay Singh’s contribution in development of Amethi.