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MC polls: Migrant woman from Bihar outshines as Independent in Amritsar

Denied BJP ticket, she contested as an Independent from ward 15; father-in-law’s popularity reason for her victory

punjab Updated: Dec 18, 2017 22:46 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Amritsar,MC polls,MC elections
Migrant labourer from Bihar, Pinky Devi, after winning the municipal corporation votes as an Independent from ward 15 in Amritsar on Monday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Rejecting all Punjabi candidates, even those affiliated to political giants, residents of ward number 15 of Amritsar have elected a woman as their representative in the municipal corporation house.

Born in a village at Moti Hari town of Bihar, 26-year-old Pinky Devi has completed her education till Class 5. She was married to a daily wager, Mukesh, around six years ago and has two kids — Neeraj (5) and Bablu (4).

Besides her, Bandana Sharma of the Congress, Amarjit Kaur Wahla of SAD-BJP and two Independent candidates were in fray in the ward, reserved for a woman (general) candidate. The common notion in the area was of the main contest between the Congress and SAD-BJP candidates.

However, Devi surprised all by defeating Congress’ Sharma by a margin of 1,225 votes. She excelled in the ward, dominated by Punjabis with migrant labourers in the minority.

“I thank all those who voted for me to be the councillor. I will help the residents in every respect,” said a shy Devi, not used to the media glare.

She seemed reserved even in front of her supporters, who came to congratulate her at her home in Sandhu Colony on Monday.

Success mantra

Reportedly, popularity of Bali Ram, father-in-law of Devi, is being said to be the reason behind her victory. Ram migrated from his birth place, Bukane Kalan village of Moti Hari district in Bihar to Amritsar as a labourer around 25 years ago. “Even as Bihar is my native state, I am a permanent resident of Amritsar,” he says.

He said he started his life in the city by whitewashing buildings. Now, he is a property dealer. Moreover, for the past 10 years, he has been participating in local politics, even as his financial condition is not so well.

“Earlier, I joined the Congress, then the BJP. I worked for former BJP minister Anil Joshi for many years. I took up local issues with Joshi and also contributed in fixing problems of the people in my ward. Hence, the residents of the ward wanted me to contest the polls. But I sought a ticket for my daughter-in-law as the ward is reserved for a woman candidate. However, the party did not entertain my request and ignored my long service,” he said.

His popularity can be judged from the fact that the chowk where his house is located is popular as Bali Ram chowk in the area.

“We did not let this family spend much money on the poll campaign and all expenses were borne by us and other supporters of Bali Ram. An SUV was also provided by the supporters for the campaign,” said Sunil Sharma and Harjinder Singh, residents of ward 15.

Along with her father-in-law, Devi visited the Golden Temple on Monday to offer thanks for the victory.

First Published: Dec 18, 2017 22:44 IST