Election battle splits Gamangs: Wife gets ticket, Giridhar fumes | india | Hindustan Times
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Election battle splits Gamangs: Wife gets ticket, Giridhar fumes

It?s a script straight out of the Amitabh-Jaya starrer Abhimaan. And the dramatis personae are former Orissa chief minister Giridhar Gamang and his wife Hema.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2004 11:32 IST

It’s a script straight out of the Amitabh-Jaya starrer Abhimaan. And the dramatis personae are former Orissa chief minister Giridhar Gamang and his wife Hema.

Gamang is livid that the Congress has ignored his claims and declared his wife its candidate from Koraput Lok Sabha constituency, a seat he has won eight times since 1972. When he became CM in 1999, he handed over the seat to her. Now, Hema, a member of the outgoing Lok Sabha, doesn’t want to step down in his favour.

Hema senses jealousy on her husband’s part. “He wants to end my political career. He’s upset because I’m more popular than him,” she told HT. “But I will not back out.”

Hema sees her problem as that of any woman trying to establish herself in politics. “Like any man, Gamang seems to believe that women should only cook and rear children,” she fumes.

“In the last six years, Gamang has only been involved in dancing and beating drums. If he goes to the constituency now, people won’t even let him enter the area. Soniaji gave me the ticket because of my performance,” she says.

She has some advice for Gamang: “Like a disciplined Congress worker, he must follow the party line.”

The tussle has divided the family. Their elder son is rooting for his father. But the daughter and younger son are in Hema’s favour.

Gamang, however, says politics has nothing to do with the family. “The ticket issue has nothing to do with my family life. I see Hema as another Congress candidate and not as my wife,” he says. He is confident that Sonia will intervene in his favour and give him the ticket.

<I>(With HTC, Bhubaneswar)</I>