Hardoi: It?s bahu vs beti
Fighting her first elections, Anita is banking on the BJP's star leaders and her father's appeal in the constituency.
All prominent contestants in the fray here — Anita Verma (BJP), Usha Verma (SP), Chand Ram (Congress) and Shiv Prasad Verma (BSP) — have one common link: their connection to the late Member of Parliament Parmai Lal. Anita is Lal's daughter, Usha is Lal's daughter-in-law, Chand Ram was once fielded by Lal and Shiv Prasad is a distant relative of Lal.
With Naresh Agarwal (SP), state tourism minister and a heavyweight in the constituency, throwing in his lot with Anita's sister-in-law Usha, a minister in the Mulayam Singh Yadav government, the contest has turned colourful — and dangerous too.
Fighting her first elections, Anita is banking on the BJP's star leaders and her father's appeal in the constituency. "I am the daughter here and people would definitely prefer me over the daughter-in-law," said Anita.
Locals admit that Lal was a major force in Hardoi till his death. "Even now his name is important and that is why no politician can afford to ignore him," says a prominent trader. "He won his first election in 1962 from jail."
Though it appears to be a fight between the BJP and the SP, the prospects of the Congress' Chand Ram, a former Union minister, seem to have improved. "He did a lot for Hardoi during his 11 months as MP in 1989 and got schemes worth several crores before shifting to Haryana. Now he has promised to change the face of Hardoi if he is elected," says Ram Sevak, a resident of Nagheta village.
Also in the fray is Udit Raj (Indian Justice Party). His brother, Kalicharan, a former MP, alleges that Agarwal is indulging in unfair practices and terrorising voters. "We have written to the EC on the issue," he says.
Others are in a threatening mood too. "We will poll five against every fake vote of theirs," threatens Anita. No wonder, the district administration has declared this reserved constituency "extra sensitive".