From a highly-qualified fashion designer, college teacher and lawyer to a farm labourer from the Musahar community and a sweeper — this year’s assembly election has women candidates from myriad backgrounds.
While Amita Bhushan, the Congress candidate from Begusarai, is a professional fashion designer, Renu Kumari Kushwaha, the BJP candidate from Samastipur, is a philosophy teacher in Khagaria.
CPI(ML) candidate from Darbhanga rural, Shanichari Devi, is a farm labour leader from the Musahar community, while BJP candidate from Ramnagar, Bhagirathi Devi, works as a sweeper at a block development office.
Bhushan said she had never planned on joining politics. “I had launched a boutique called Choice Cottage in the state capital and had also joined the Bihar Mahila Udyog Sangh,” she said.
However, destiny had other plans for her. “My mother Chandrabhanu Devi, who was an MP from Begusarai and also ran a foundation, passed away in 2008. I came in contact with several people then and it must have drawn the attention of some Congress leaders who suggested I join the party,” Bhushan said.
Another candidate in the fray, Renu Kumari Kushwaha, said addressing public meetings initially made her nervous but appreciation from the audience gave her confidence.
BJP candidate Bhagirathi Devi had an altogether different life before joining politics. “I saw how the poor, especially women, came to the block development office and were humiliated. I wanted to end all this so I joined politics,” she said.
Among the other women candidates, Bima Bharti, the JD(U) candidate from Rupouli (Purnia), spent her childhood days rearing cattle.
Leshi Singh, another JD(U) candidate from Dhamdaha, joined politics after the murder of her husband, Butan Singh.
Similarly, Asha Sinha, the BJP candidate came into politics after her husband Satya Narayan Yadav was murdered during a political rally in 2010.