As Jannat Jahan, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Chandigarh, enters a Ford Endeavour at her palatial Sector-35 house to leave for door- to- door campaigning on a breezy Wednesday morning, she stops and calls out to her domestic help, Urmila: “Don’t let her (Jahan’s one-year-old daughter) be alone. Ensure that the gate is closed.”
Minutes later, two Ford Endeavours and an Audi Q5, in which Jahan’s husband, Hafiz Anwar Ul Haq, is seated with some journalists, head for Nehru Colony in Sector 52. “Do you think it’s an easy job? I am a mother of three children.
Two of them study in school. I have to get them and myself ready by 8am. I am fighting at two fronts: one at home, other outside,” she says.
When campaigning, Jahan walks briskly, but ensures that she shakes hands with every woman she sees. Elders and youngsters are also greeted warmly. Here’s a day in the life of Jannat Jahan:
Takes tea with biscuits and reads 8-10 newspapers. If her kids, 12 -year-old son Riaz and 5-year-old daughter Ruhani, have school, she has to cancel her morning meetings. Once the children are ready, Jahan leaves for campaigning
Leaves for Nehru Colony where party workers are already waiting. She walks through dusty bylanes amid chants of “BSP zindabad”. “Namaskar ji, please remember BSP. Vote symbol: Elephant. Please vote on May 10,” she says to all who meet her. Next destination is Adarsh Nagar.
Unfazed by the stench, Jahan wipes the sweat off her face and takes a quick round of the impoverished locality with her husband and party workers. After another direct-contact campaign at Furniture Market, her convoy heads for home, ending the morning campaign.
After a quick shower, Jahan — with a cup of tea and two bread-butter toasts on her platter — plays with her one-year-old daughter and scans the expenses file of her election campaign. Now, interviews and workers’ meetings start: Jannat, who was folding hands till half an hour ago, is aggressive while deciding campaign strategies and other party matters. Some journalists arrive for an interview. She meets them, and later has a quick lunch and retires for a while.
Heads to a newspaper office in Panchkula for a talk. By 4.30pm, she is at Shastri Nagar, a colony dominated by migrants from central India, for another door-to-door campaign. “Take a picture and give it to Pawan Kumar Bansal, who boasts of City Beautiful.
This place is also in Chandigarh,” Jahan says as she points to a heap of dung kept in the open. Jahan and her brigade move on to Manimajra for the opening of a party office. After a brief nukkad meeting where Jahan takes digs at Bansal, the campaign ends abruptly due to rain.
Jahan’s home and helps her two school- going children with their homework, but keeps an ear to the adjoining room where her husband is finalising the next day’s schedule.