Though the battle for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat is being seen as a triangular contest involving sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal and celebrity candidates Kirron Kher and Gul Panag, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) nominee Jannat Jahan (33) is out to prove that she is no also-ran.
Being an astrologer’s wife, it’s hardly surprising that Jannat — who was known as Naina before she converted to Islam — believes in the stars. “Whatever is destined will happen. Belonging to a business family (of Jammu), I had never thought that I would go to people asking for votes.”
Born with a silver spoon in Jammu, Jannat was brought up in Chandigarh. Her father, Ashok Kumar, set up KC Theatre ( now defunct) in Sector 17 in the early 1970s. The family owns hotels, theatres, schools and factories in Jammu and Kashmir under the ‘KC’ Group.
With her sister studying in Bangalore and her brother in London, Jannat was a pampered daughter who used to get a new car and phone every year. She studied till Class 10 from one of the top schools of the city, Carmel Convent. She then had a one-year stint at the elite Lawrence School, Sanawar. She did graduation in arts from Chandigarh, besides a course in interior designing.
Jannat recalls that she got a Cielo car on her 18th birthday. Her friends remember her coming to the college in swanky cars, flaunting flashy phones. “I wanted to become a lawyer, but destiny had something else in store for me,” she says.
LOVE AND MARRIAGE
Her dream life witnessed a dramatic turn when she met Hafiz-Anwar-ul-Haq in 2001. Jannat had gone to the 29-yearold astrologer along with her friends to know about their future. She fell for him and they both kept meeting, even though Hafiz was already married and had a three-year-old son.
After six years of courtship, Jannat and Hafiz got married in 2007 after he separated from his first wife. Jannat’s father, belonging to a staunch Hindu family, did not approve of the marriage and did not talk to her till she gave birth to her first daughter in 2008. However, her Sikh mother stood by Jannat. Now, her father consults Hafiz before taking any big decision.
Jannat says she was initially reluctant to enter the political arena, but her husband encouraged her to take the plunge. She was elected a municipal councillor in 2012. Importantly, BSP supremo Mayawati announced her name as the Lok Sabha candidate from Chandigarh at least a year ago.
The outspoken councillor gained notoriety when she used the ‘F’ word in the municipal corporation House last year. She also used the word ‘chor’ for a councillor.
Hafiz says, “She is young, educated, and energetic and can connect with city residents. She can be a good choice for the city.”