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Sahni bets on Phoolan’s legacy for VIP footprint in UP

Mukesh Sahni-led Vikashsheel Insaan Party (VIP), a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar, has decided to install statues of late Phoolan Devi, a bandit who later became a member of Parliament, in several parts of Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the 2022 assembly elections there, the party chief said
By Vijay Swaroop, Patna
PUBLISHED ON JUL 21, 2021 09:13 PM IST

Mukesh Sahni-led Vikashsheel Insaan Party (VIP), a constituent of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar, has decided to install statues of late Phoolan Devi, a bandit who later became a member of Parliament, in several parts of Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the 2022 assembly elections there, the party chief said.

Phoolan Devi belonged to the Nishad community, which consists mainly of boatmen and accounts for 14% of UP’s population along with other subcastes. She was shot dead in New Delhi on July 25, 2001.

Sahni, a former Bollywood set designer and now Bihar’s animal husbandry minister, has got built 18 such statues, each 18-foot high.

“Phoolan Devi is still alive in our thoughts for her struggles for the pride and prestige of women of our community. We are celebrating July 25 as her martyrdom day in Bihar and UP and we are going to install 18 idols of Phoolan Devi in UP and some in Bihar,” Sahni said.

“I will attend one such programme in Varanasi on July 25,” he said.

Sahni, who had earlier announced that his party would contest on at least 165 of the total 403 assembly seats in UP and hinted at an alliance with BJP, said Phoolan Devi wanted to bring the Nishad community on one platform and ensure injustice is not done to them.

The VIP was founded by Sahni in November 2018. In 2019, the party fought parliamentary polls from three seats in Bihar in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, but drew a blank. It, however, won four seats in 2020 assembly elections in Bihar.

“Right now, we are focusing on the 2022 UP elections. I am sure we will have more MLAs in Uttar Pradesh and MPs from Bihar, UP and Jharkhand in the 2024 general elections,” he said.

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