Amri Devi, the Congress candidate of the Luni assembly constituency of Jodhpur district is on the wrong side of 70 but she seems to be managing that ‘problem’ quite well. Out on a campaign trail in an SUV, flanked by her son and grandson, the 78-year-old widow of veteran Congress leader Ram Singh Bishnoi knows how to hold fort.
Probably the oldest debutant in this year’s legislative arena, Amri is canvassing for votes, banking on the work of chief minister Ashok Gehlot and her late husband. Wherever she falters, her son Parasram Bishnoi fills in.
“Our family has served the area for 11 terms and will do the same again,” he says.
To women voters in Bhoklawas village, the mother promises water and electricity.
Amri is canny enough not to mention her other son, former Congress legislator Malkhan singh Bishnoi, one of the accused in the abduction and murder of government nurse Bhanwari Devi. This ‘slip’ has not gone unnoticed.
Party rebel and former health minister Rajendra Chowdhary, who is contesting from Luni as an Independent, draws attention to Amri’s frailties.
“The Congress candidate is an old lady, unable to walk or work. People feel cheated and it was they who compelled me to fight,” he says.
“So much for the Congress vice-president and the CM’s stand on party tickets going to deserving and clean candidates and not just political families,” he said.