Monday, February 20, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Once an ardent Maya fan, now 25 and a Samajwadi Party candidate

Once an ardent Maya fan, now 25 and a Samajwadi Party candidate
Manish Sahu Posted online: Tue Feb 21 2012, 03:45 hrs
Lucknow : At 25, Kiran Ramesh Chandra Jatav might possibly be the
youngest candidate in the UP elections. And by that age, she has
already been let down by a party she once idolised and gone on to join

Kiran, a postgraduate in political science, and her Dalit family used
to be ardent BSP supporters and admirers of Mayawati. That changed in
2008, after Kiran arrived in Lucknow hoping to meet Mayawati and
complain that the district administration had refused pensions to
about 250 women of her Lala Mohammadpur village in Meerut.

She was denied access to Mayawati. She started a dharna in front of
the Assembly and was sent to jail. It was the Samajwadi Party that
intervened and arranged legal help for her release 15 days later.

She has been dedicated to the SP since, participating in its
programmes. The party has now fielded her from Hapur, a seat held by
the BSP.

"The party cleared my name last May," she says. "In my speeches, I
tell people I will be their postwoman and raise their issues in the

Kiran, daughter of Shyam Kor Devi and Ramesh Chandra, who works as a
guard, is the youngest of six children, four of them girls. Hapur
being 25km from home, she has rented a house to run her campaign.

Her first tryst with politics came when she was visiting her sister
Suneeta in Meerut in 2008. Some elderly women approached her, hoping
that she, being educated, could help them get their pensions. She
helped 250 women fill up forms but "the social welfare officer
wouldn't accept them, saying they didn't have the funds".

When the district magistrate too pleaded helplessness, she sat on a
fast, calling it off four days later when officials promised to hold a
camp within three days. At the camp, however, all but seven of the
forms were rejected.

That October, Kiran set off on a bicycle procession to Lucknow and met
the OSD to the CM. The latter assured a solution in 15 days, the
police sent her back to Meerut, and the deadline passed.

As Kiran kept on staging dharnas, her elders frequently scolded her
and she started living with her sister in Meerut. In December, she set
off on a padyatra to meet the CM and reached Lucknow in a fortnight.
Before arresting them for the dharna outside the Assembly, she
alleges, the police beat them up.

It was after their release 15 days later that she learnt about the
legal assistance arranged by Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh.
She met and thanked Mulayam, and was soon participating in party

Once, she tied a rakhi to Akhilesh's wrist. "The purpose was to drive
home the point that Yadavs and Jatavs can come on the same platform,"
she says.

The ticket came after she had applied forone, on the advice of a
senior SP leader. And the elders in her family, who were once angry
about her agitations, are now joyfully helping in the campaign.


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