Politicians usually change their colours after being elected. Not Neha Sharma. The maverick Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate for Indore Lok Sabha seat has already swapped several guises although there's still some way to go before the ink meets the finger.
Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Neha Sharma dressed as goddess Durga before filing her nomination papers, in Indore (HT Photo)
Sharma's flip flops have lent some much-needed colour to the drab LS campaign. More importantly, her mercurial behaviour has earned welcome newsprint space for a party whose chances of riding to an election victory in Indore are slim.
Sharma first had eyebrows touching hairlines when she turned up to file her nomination papers dressed as goddess Durga; resplendent in a red sari and holding a trident.
Sharma's godly getup didn't amuse district returning officer Akash Tripathi who ticked her off. Undaunted, she has been seen in several avatars since.
On April 18 she appeared in a guise that appeared suspiciously close to sitting MP Sumitra Mahajan.
Sharma as Sumitra Mahajan (HT Photo)
A day later, she was at it again, this time dressed as Narendra Modi replete with a NaMo kurta, fake white beard et al, an impersonation exercise that led to a minor fracas with angry BJP supporters.
But there's more to Sharma than just make-up tricks and theatrical props. The PhD in Hindi literature has also shown plenty of chutzpah.
She led a group of SP workers who uprooted part of the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) pilot corridor at the Palasia trisection after a minor accident, a move that led to an FIR being registered against her.
Sharma says the railing uprooting was an "immediate reaction" to the accident. "A woman who lives in my colony was injured. My conscience wouldn't have forgiven me if I hadn't done anything," she added.
She, however, clarifies that the portrayal of a seven-time MP who didn't do much for her constituents was only "indicative and did not refer to Sumitra Mahajan".
For all that, she is candid enough to concede the pluses of her actions. "My party has gained publicity," she admits in response to a question. "When Indore's history is written my name will be mentioned in golden letters. I'm not like ordinary girls. I wear my watch on my right wrist not on the left," she declares.
Neha Sharma in a Modi garb (HT Photo)