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6 Questions / Smriti Malhotra Irani
April 20, 2004
Her television popularity is proving a bonanza for the BJP as she draws huge crowds everywhere. Now, television's most famous bahu (she plays the popular character Tulsi in the television soap, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi) will take on Kapil Sibal, one of India's finest lawyers, in Delhi's Chandni Chowk constituency.
Even as she prepares for battle, Smriti Malhotra Irani, 27, television actress and vice-president of the BJP Yuva Morcha's Maharashtra unit, answers a few quick questions from Senior Assistant Editor Syed Firdaus Ashraf:
What campaign accessory do you always travel with?
I have been campaigning in interior Maharashtra and have realised that books are your best companions when you travel. Which is why I make it a point to keep some light books or a book of Atalji's speeches with me. I also prefer carrying simple outfits because of my hectic schedule.
What do you do before you set out for the day?
I meet party workers. This is a must because it helps me understand the problems and issues of voters at the district level. I always get information about the places I am going to visit. I also get feedback after my meetings. Besides, I pray every day; this is something I do when I am in Mumbai as well.
How do you keep fit?
(laughs) Do I look fit? I have been ignoring my health for quite some time. I have been travelling non-stop and I don't get time to think about my health. There are times when I have skipped both lunch and dinner because I am travelling non-stop. Once I left Dahanu at 4 am and reached Nagpur next day at 4 am; we did not pause for a break.
What do you do to keep your voice in fine fettle?
I do nothing. I don't gargle or do any of the things people have told me to do. Luckily, I've not had any problems with my voice. I have covered the Vidarbha area so far and have attended rallies every day. After Maharashtra, I will campaign in 10 other states.
What is your favourite mode of transport during elections?
Nothing particular. At the moment, I am travelling a lot in Mahindra Scorpios. I am avoiding trains because my aim is to contact and meet as many people as possible. I feel travelling by road helps me connect with more people and understand their problems. I was offered the use of a helicopter, but have not used one in Maharashtra. I don't know whether I will use a helicopter to campaign in other states.
If there is one thing you could avoid during this campaign, what it would be?
Nothing in particular comes to mind. I cannot have any apprehensions during elections. I cannot say I don't want this or that. I have seen rural life and met all kinds of people. I don't think there is anything I would like to avoid in this campaign.
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