Rohita Rewri of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), who has been active in politics only over the past year-and-a-half, has emerged the strongest woman legislator in the state. In the results declared on Sunday, the 34-year-old Rohita topped the list of women candidates by winning elections with the highest margin.
She polled 92,757 votes and defeated Congress’ Varinder “Bulle” Shah from Panipat City by a margin of 53,721 votes.
A total of 13 women, including Rohita, have made it to the state assembly.
According to political analysts, at a time when Congress was battling strong anti-incumbency sentiments, Shah was not even supported by his elder brother and five-time MLA Balbir Pal Shah who stayed away from campaigning.
Political observers said that Rohita gained strong political influence due to her husband and the family did not have a strong political background.
“During elections, Balbir and his team were not visible in Panipat. Balbir is influential, but his absence indicated his non-support and it further benefitted the BJP,” said an observer.
Wife of a leading yarn dealer settled in the industrial city known as the hub of India’s handloom industry, Rohita had the first taste of politics when she was fielded as a BJP candidate for Panipat’s first municipal corporation election held last year.
She won from ward no 9, reserved for women candidates, with a margin of nearly 10,000 votes – the highest ever gained by a candidate in the local body polls.
Analysts also say that Rohita was merely the face of the campaign in Panipat’s municipal corporation election where her husband Surinder Rewri was seen as being more politically active.
In her nomination, she declared herself as a businesswoman engaged in the yarn trade.
However, the newly-elected MLA told HT on Monday that she was a homemaker and had no direct business affiliation.
Elaborating on her political activities, she said, “Poor facilities of drinking water and hygiene are the most burning issues. My husband helps me out with the issues, but I take the final call. Ever since I was elected councillor, I have regularly been meeting the people of my constituency and am ready to take up the responsibility given to me.”
Refuting that the Congress candidate put up a strong opposition, she said, “His brother Balbir Pal Shah represented Panipat for five terms. Shah was the local MLA since 2005. But Panipat did not face any development and people were obviously against the Shah family.”