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|February 25, 1998|
Campaign Trail/Archana Masih
Ram Pyari versus the Rajmata: A strange contest in Guna
Ram Pyari Bai is one of the 14 candidates taking on Vijaya Raje Scindia in Guna. With just three days to go before her constituency goes to the polls, Ram Pyari is yet to step out of her hearth for campaigning.
The 38-year-old, mother of 8, is one of the four Independent candidates and has selected a wall clock as her election symbol. "I don't like to go from house to house asking for votes," she says, looking at her two grown up sons beside her. "Moreover, I am a BJP supporter myself."
Ram Pyari Bai's husband is a former BJP MLA and his marble tiled office is covered with framed pictures of BJP leaders.
So why is Ram Pyari Bai taking on that BJP icon, the Rajmata of Gwalior?
"I first wanted to stand on a BJP ticket, but as it was not possible, I decided to go ahead with my candidature," she says reluctantly after her sons prompt her to reply.
Ram Pyari Bai's opponents in the town say she was hoping to be the BJP candidate from Guna if either Vijaya Raje or her youngest daughter Yashodhara Raje could not be fielded for some reason. But as that possibility receded, Ram Pyari Bai retained her candidature -- this time as an Independent.
Her head covered under a georgette sari pallu, Ram Pyari Bai says she has no political inclinations.
"I have no interest in politics. The party (the BJP) told me to file my nomination," she says -- only to be interrupted by her son, a local contractor: "Just now she may not be interested, but in the future who knows?"
Apart from discussing her household chores, her children and vegetables, it is evident that Ram Pyari Bai is completely out of place in her role as a candidate. Her sons say they will take her to cast her vote on polling day and bring her back.
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