LUCKNOW: Preeti Mahapatra’s dramatic entry as the 12th candidate into UP’s battle for the Rajya Sabha was no off-the-cuff decision. The 37-year-old national president of the Narendra Modi Vichar Manch’s women’s wing says she did “lots of research” before jumping into the fray, and she is confident of emerging victorious. HT caught up with her for a tete-a-tete. Excerpts:
You are from Mumbai with business interests in Gujarat. Your husband is an Odiya businessman. Why this sudden interest in going to RS from UP?
The Constitution has granted this right to me. Moreover, as someone rightly said, a UP caught in the ‘dal-dal’ of politics perhaps required a ‘nirdal’ (independent).
Aren’t you a little young for the House of Elders, and a touch inexperienced to take on established politicians? Your glam quotient also makes many wonder if you are a serious candidate?
(Smiles) Suddenly, UP’s politics has become glamorous and colourful, hasn’t it? Why shouldn’t women look presentable and well-groomed? If that disturbs somebody, it’s their problem. I like to carry myself with dignity and class. As far as being young is concerned, I aim to become a political voice with a fresh set of fundamentals to represent UP.
You deny the charge of being a BJP candidate. So, how do you explain being associated with the Narendra Modi Vichar Manch? And your photos with PM Modi?
Well, some also say I am related to BJP chief Amit Shah. I am not. Yes, I am associated with the Manch. What’s wrong in that? Also, getting clicked with a PM or CM doesn’t mean a political connection.