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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

In UP’s Maharajganj, it’s daughter vs daughter of two influential families

The political debut by two women candidates, both belonging to influential political families in east UP has made the Maharajganj seat contest interesting, while the sitting BJP MP Pankaj Chowdhary is confident of winning the seat a sixth time

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 02, 2019 18:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
Supriya Srinet
Supriya Srinet

As the SUV carrying TV anchor-turned Congress candidate Supriya Srinet drove to her village in Mahrajganj on Monday noon, slogans of “Maharajganj ki beti Zindabad” rent the air, setting the stage for the poll to be held in the last phase, on May 19.

Srinet, daughter of former MP Harshvardhan Singh, has been fielded on a Congress ticket from the Maharajganj seat, where she will be facing a fight from another women leader Tanushree Tripathi, daughter of former MLA and strongman Amar Mani Tripathi, who is currently serving a life term in connection with the murder of poetess Madhumita Shukla.

The political debut by two women candidates, both belonging to influential political families in east UP has made the Maharajganj seat contest interesting, while the sitting BJP MP Pankaj Chowdhary is confident of winning the seat a sixth time. Earlier, he won the seat in 1991, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2014. In 2009, Pankaj faced defeat at the hand of Harshwardhan Singh, who had won his first election from the seat on a Janta Dal ticket way back in 1989. His daughter, Srinet, a TV anchor, is tasked with wresting the seat back from the BJP.

On Sunday, before moving to Mahrajganj by road, Srinet took a brief halt on way to Gorakhpur, where she spoke to reporters. Srinet cited the prevailing condition in the country as the reason for joining politics after working for long in the media. When asked about Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Amethi as well as Waynad in Kerala this time, she was quick to attack PM Modi for contesting elections from two seats in 2014.

“I am very glad to have been fielded from Maharajganj which has been my father’s karmbhoomi, not for five or 10 years but for 41 years. Also, I have been given a big responsibility by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and I am pretty confident that I will stand by the expectation of my party. I will try and follow in the footprints of my father,” she said, and refused to comment on Tanushree Tripathi and her father Amarmani Tripathi, saying that more than her, the locals know about them and she didn’t want to indulge in any controversy by making any comment.

However, Srinet slammed BJP MP Pankaj Chwodhary saying, “He has been an MP for five terms but no development has taken place in any of his tenures, not even in 2017, when he his party was in power at the Centre as well as in the State. The Railway line for Mahrajganj, proposal of which was passed during my father’s tenure, has not come up till today. Mahrajganj would have seen some development, had Pankaj Chowdhary taken forward the work done by my father.

When contacted, Tanushree Tripathi, representing Shivpal Yadav’s Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party, also possesses a Master’s degree from London, dismissed Srinet, saying she was just a parachute candidate, little known in her own village. She bet that Srinet would lose her deposit. “She is an anchor in an English channel which, is not watched in Maharajganj. Nobody in her own village, including next-door neighbours, know her. I don’t know which political legacy of her father she speaks about, as Harshwardhan ji represented the seat for one time in 2009 and after that he lost by 50,000 votes. Also, there is a revolt among Congress workers, who know that she will get not more than 10,000 votes. Secondly, being a sitting MP and BJP leader, he will certainly put up a fight but it’s me who will win. Chowdhary is facing the ire of locals for not doing work in 25-year tenure.

“In Mahrajganj, which shares a border with Nepal and is part of the Buddha circuit, we don’t have a single hotel for tourists to stay. Besides, the farmers are suffering because all five sugar mills are lying closed,” said Tanushree, who shot into light during the 2017 assembly election when she extensively campaigned for her brother Amanmani Tripathi, who fought from jail and won by over 34,000 votes as an independent candidate at a time when BJP clean-swept UP with 73 out of 80 seats.

Tanushree is all set to enter wedlock on April 20. Over 18.5 lakh voters will exercise their franchise to elect their representative.

First Published: Apr 02, 2019 08:17 IST

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