Rajasthan polls: 80-yr-old banks on sympathy to keep seat in family

The Congress is banking on the sympathy wave for 80-year-old Amri Devi to take her to victory despite her son being accused in the state's most controversial murder case.

FP Staff November 29, 2013 13:06:56 IST
Rajasthan polls: 80-yr-old banks on sympathy to keep seat in family

You're never too old to enjoy power and in Rajasthan, and Amri Devi could tell you a thing or two about it. She's perhaps the oldest debutante in the elections taking place in five states but for this 80-year-old candidate it's all about keeping the seat in the family.

Her son is legislator Malkhan Singh Bishnoi, presently still facing prosecution for his role in the controversial abduction and murder of nurse Bhanwari Devi.

Rajasthan polls 80yrold banks on sympathy to keep seat in family

Amri Devi. PTI

But Amri is the beneficiary of the Congress's decision to back her, despite her son's record, thanks to the support she is said to enjoy from the Bishnoi community in her constituency of Luni.

The community stood by her even when her son was arrested on charges of murder.

When summoned for questioning by the CBI in connection with her son's alleged indiscretions, the community had protested after she was hospitalised in February 2012.

Community leaders wrote to the National Human Rights Commission and other bodies demanding a case against the CBI for 'violation of the human rights of an elderly woman', said a Times of India report.

And so, despite the octogenarian seeking that Parasram, another son, be given the ticket, the Congress decided that the sympathy factor in her favour was too strong to ignore.

“We tried for a ticket for Parasram. Even Amri Devi wanted it to be given to her son... But Gehlot thought otherwise, as the sympathy factor would work better in Amri Devi’s case,” Ramrakh Bishnoi, her chief polling agent was quoted as saying in a Telegraph article.

In spite of being ignored for a ticket, it is her son Parasram who is running her campaign.

“Our family has served the area for 11 terms and will do the same again,” Parasram was quoted as saying in a Hindustan Times report.

Typical issues of electricity and water dominate the campaign train and son Malkhan and the controversy surrounding the Bhanwari Devi murder is understandably not mentioned.

But then as the Telegraph report documents, for most of the electorate the issue of Bhanwari Devi is one that doesn't matter any more.

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