Everyone knows Bano Bi, an elderly Muslim woman, in Mandsaur, a district in Western Madhya Pradesh. Bano Bi is 70.
But she loves to fight elections. This year it is no exception. She is again in the fray for the Lok Sabha. The elderly woman has been fighting Lok Sabha [Parliamentary] elections since 1991.
Also, she has fought Vidhan Sabha [Assembly] elections regularly, apart from a civic body poll. Though she is always contesting polls, people don’t feel that she is there just to cut the votes.
They know it’s her passion. Once, she had even come third after the Congress and BJP candidates. Bano Bi knows that she doesn’t have a strong chance.
But she feels that it is important to contest. Her family members support her in canvassing and in arranging the funds for running the publicity campaign.
Bano Bi is fighting on the ticket of Bharatiya Minorities Surkasha Mahasangh (BMSM). The BMSM is a basically a politically party with roots in Maharashtra, where it puts up candidates.
The BMSM’s national president is Sundar Shaekhar, who is the adopted son of Haji Mastan, the Mumbai-based underworld don who had later tried his luck in politics too. Mastan couldn’t get success in his avatar as a politician.
The election scene is quite interesting in Mandsaur constituency. Congress’ Meenakshi Natarajan is hoping to retain her seat. BJP has fielded Sudhir Gupta. The maverick Paras Saklecha has been fielded by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The BSP has fielded an interesting man, Kranti Parivartan. Besides, only a few other recognised parties have fielded candidates viz. All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) that has fielded Sheikh Azizuddin Qureshi, Bahujan Mukti Party [Raju Malviya] and Bahujan Sangharsh Dal [Banshi Patidar].
The electorate in Mandsaur have voted, and it will be clear in a fortnight, who will be their new Member of Parliament (MP). Bano Bi is happy at contesting the poll. Once the election is over, she will start preparing for the nagar palika [municipal corporation] election which will be held soon.