Tiger tales in Maneka stronghold

Updated on May 08, 2004 01:16 PM IST

Maneka Gandhi is the sitting MP from Pilibhit. So, guess what's an election issue here ? her love for animals, of course.

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PTI | BySunita Aron, Pilibhit

Maneka Gandhi is the sitting MP from Pilibhit. So, guess what's an election issue here — her love for animals, of course.

A story doing the rounds goes like this: Some time back, Maneka got some circus tigers freed into the Terai jungles. The tigers turned man-eaters and have already killed a dozen-odd people.

The common refrain of those aggrieved with her haughty style of dealing with the public is: 'She loves animals more than human beings'.

However, the issue is unlikely to seriously dent her electoral prospects despite stiff opposition from her brother and Congress nominee V.M. Singh.

For many years now, V.M. Singh — a lawyer by profession — has been spearheading the cause of farmers. For this, he has approached many courts — right from the lower to the apex court.

Today, Singh is fighting his case in the people's court. But the verdict on the wall is: 'The contest is between popularity and stature. He will reduce the victory margin but won't win the seat'.

He, however, seems to have made many a convert. "We are known as hardcore Mulayam loyalists. Still, I am going to support VM who got the temple that was demolished in Puranpur jungle reconstructed, fought for cane growers and took up Dilshad murder case which the police was trying to suppress," says a young Yadav, at a roadside dhaba. A Gangawar joined in: "I should be supporting the SP. But this time I’ll vote for VM.'

VM seems to have won over Muslim too, because he took up Tada cases. Says Mohd Rashid: "We will vote for the Congress this time". The hour-long political discussion ended with a unanimous ruling. "She will lose votes but not the seat".

The election meetings of Rahul Gandhi, Uttranchal CM Narain Dutt Tiwari, BKU leader Mahendra Singh Tikait, and Bollywood star Govinda are also expected to make an impact.

As for Maneka, it's her judicious decision of taking the BJP's support that is expected to bail her out.

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