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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

The 'better half' story of LS poll war in Tehri

Hindustan Times  Dehradun, April 25, 2014
First Published: 15:33 IST(25/4/2014) | Last Updated: 16:28 IST(25/4/2014)

They may not be public figures, but the spouses of Tehri Lok Sabha candidates are juggling between home and hectic campaign schedules to help their better halves win as many votes as possible. Having come out in public now, they have been following a taxing campaign schedules, meeting supporters and visiting assembly constituencies. Nihi Sharma Sahani finds out how they are making all possible efforts to help their life partners.

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Son of royal scion Manvendra Shah who was also an eight-time MP from Tehri seat, Manujendra Shah has adopted a strict schedule for campaigning in Tehri constituency.

Both wife and husband have worked out their campaigning routine in such a way that when Mala campaigns in Dehradun, Manujendra visits hills and vice versa. Currently, Mala was campaigning in Tehri and Manujendra in Dehradun.

“It’s not for the first time that Mala is contesting elections. We have prepared a schedule outlining when Mala campaigns in hills, I campaign in Dehradun and when I go to hills, she returns to the capital. We have decided to go in opposite directions and campaign. With this strategy I believe we will be able to cover a larger area and meet more people,” he shared.

Manujendra plans his day the previous evening. Therefore, his new day is planned. He makes sure to follow the schedule strictly (unless there is some unavoidable situation) to avoid any last minute problems. During the day of campaign, he meets people, seeks votes door-to-door, visits party office and also meets supporters.

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She may not know the twists and turns of politics. But in last 16 years of her marriage, Gauri Bahuguna, wife of Tehri Lok Sabha Congress candidate Saket Bahuguna, has learnt to remain surrounded with supporters.

She is currently incharge of campaigning in three assembly constituencies of Tehri- Rajpur, Raipur and Dehradun Cantt. She is on an extensive campaign programme in Rajpur assembly constituency at present. Elder bahu of former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, Gauri is targeting women voters in all given assembly constituencies where the turnout was low in the last assembly elections.

She said, “I feel not only women but also men residing in posh areas do not come out in large numbers to vote. Men especially, do only drawing room politics. I want to appeal to them to vote. It is their fundamental right. Only then will they get the candidate of their choice.”

Having left her kids back home with their nani in Delhi, Gauri makes sure to take an interval from campaigning every hour and talk to her kids. An introvert, she strongly feels politics is not her cup of tea.

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A down to earth woman, Rekha Singh loves preparing food for her children.

Earlier, her world was confined to her family. But, the homemaker had to come out in public to campaign for her husband who is contesting the LS polls. Coming out of her cocoon was not easy for her. However, now she has learnt to remain surrounded with supporters.

“I found it uncomfortable to be surrounded by so many people. But if I want to see my husband win, I will have to become an extrovert. After doing some legwork initially, now I have got used to meeting people and seeking votes from them.”

“My husband works for a big political party and I want him to win recognition in the state,” she shared. Like other homemakers, Rekha had to juggle between home and campaigning. She makes sure to prepares breakfast and send her kids to school.

A dedicated wife and a loving mother, Rekha has become a pillar of strength not only for supporters, but also for party members. She plans her schedule early and strictly follows it.

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An introvert and a private person, Divya Nautiyal has never thought that her husband would choose politics. She believes that her husband, who is new to politics, is doing “innocent politics” and is learning with time.

As both her kids are in residential school, Divya finds enough time to campaign and make tour arrangements for her husband.

“I am a private person. And I am not used to seeing a crowd every now and then at my place. But now that my husband has chosen this field, I will also have to learn to live with it. As both my kids are in boarding school, I get enough time to plan my day and make tour arrangements for my husband. In between I do go out and campaign. But, unlike other wives, I come home and take rest in the afternoon,” she said.

Divya loves spending time at home and arranging things in an order.  That’s why she takes lead in making tour arrangements for her husband Anoop Nautiyal and his packing.  She maintains that her children are young, and barely interested in politics.


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