2024 Lok Sabha elections: No “netagiri”, it’s “matagiri” for Maneka Gandhi in Sultanpur - Hindustan Times
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2024 Lok Sabha elections: No “netagiri”, it’s “matagiri” for Maneka Gandhi in Sultanpur

By, Sultanpur
May 11, 2024 05:04 AM IST

“I am not a national or international leader here. I am a “Maa” (mother),” says the eight-time MP Maneka Gandhi as she strikes a chord with people and sticks to local issues in Sultanpur

A group of over 100 motorcycles welcomes the BJP’s Sultanpur MP Maneka Gandhi about five kilometres from Gauravpur (Sultanpur) where a crowd of nearly 500-1000 waits for her to address a public meeting at a girls’ college for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

BJP MP Maneka Gandhi in Sultanpur. (ANI FILE PHOTO)
BJP MP Maneka Gandhi in Sultanpur. (ANI FILE PHOTO)

After reaching the venue, she reads out a list of names of all the village pradhans and other important persons of the area, greeting each one with a “pranam”.

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At every public meeting, the eight-time MP begins her address by speaking about the time when she came to Sultanpur to contest the Lok Sabha election five years ago and how the people may have been apprehensive thinking that a leader like her would indulge in “netagiri” (work as a leader) and not take care of them. She has represented Sultanpur and Aonla once each and Pilibhit six times in the Lok Sabha.

“You all now know that I do “netagiri” (leadership work) out of Sultanpur. It’s “matagiri” (work as a mother) inside Sultanpur,” she tells them.

Maneka Gandhi begins her day early and addresses about 20-25 public meetings daily. She has already addressed at least five public meetings, and many more (about 20) are lined up for the rest of the day.

“I have never asked your caste or where have you come from. I only ask how I can help you. Do you want a powerful MP? If yes, then I want you all to vote for me. You will vote for me for your own help,” she tells the people at her public meetings.

She connects with the grass roots leaders instantly as she speaks to them only about local issues. She does not talk about any international issues. Speaking only about the local leaders of Sultanpur, she does not name any opposition party or the opposition leaders. She also does not react to what others have said. She does not use any paper to read out the list of projects she has brought to the constituency or the complaints that have been resolved following her intervention.

At Gauravpur, she tells people how she was informed about how a bridge was used to commit suicides and how she immediately got a net fixed there. “No suicide has taken place there since then,” Maneka Gandhi said.

At Vedupara, she tells people the reason for arriving late.

“I went to Dhammaur to attend a programme of the Pal Samaj. I am coming from there,” says the MP.

She again says how the people were apprehensive when she came to the Sultanpur constituency five years ago.

“You thought she is a national leader; she would come, seek votes and go. Am I right? You have seen in the past five years. I am not a national or international leader here. I am a “Maa” (mother). I want all those living in my house to be happy. I want my house (constituency) to be beautiful...,” she says.

All those speaking from the dais refer to her as “mataji” (mother). When she speaks, she tells them, “You asked me for a medical college, a Navodaya Vidyalya, a polytechnic. We gave that. You wanted me to get roads constructed. You asked me to change these electrical wires and upgrade the transformer. We did that. You wanted hospitals. I got hospitals. You wanted a post office and we got one. You wanted police stations. I got police stations set up at Bandhua Kala and... You wanted more power supply. We have got more power substations. We got broadening of roads done. I did what you asked for. We did works of about 3800 crore... I have a relationship of a mother with you. When you come up with your problems, I try to resolve them.”

Maneka Gandhi also refers to the people who meet her with their complaints and says “...a widow came here last Saturday. She did not get her pension for the past 10 years. By 4pm, her pension was released to her bank account despite the Saturday being a holiday. Three boys came and informed them that they got injured when police put a stick into the wheels of their motorcycle. I came to know they were speaking the truth. The policemen were suspended within four hours.”

She further says, “At Kadipur I went to two villages and was informed that a bridge was incomplete. I took up the issue. A sum of 1.49 crore has been sanctioned to complete the bridge. I am happy. Twelve village pradhans wanted tube wells. I wrote a letter (to authorities) and 6 crore was released. I have come here not to get anything. But to give you... A youth went to Malaysia for work, and he wanted to come back. The hotel was asking for 2 lakh. I spoke to the hotel and the ministry of external affairs and the boy is back. He came to meet me (in Sultanpur) yesterday. He was not feeling well. We got him hospitalised.”

She then moves to her next public meeting and her campaign goes on the same way. .

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