POLITICS
08/05/2019 5:07 PM IST

Will Maneka Gandhi's Threats Give Her A Win In Sultanpur?

A seven-time MP, Maneka Gandhi has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this election season.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi is contesting from Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur in the Lok Sabha Election 2019. An incumbent MP from Pilibhit, she exchanged constituencies with her son Varun Gandhi this year. 

She is taking on Congress’s Sanjay Singh, BSP’s Chandra Bhadra Singh and Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party’s Kamla Yadav.  

Gandhi, who has been a seven-time MP, has been in the news in the run up to the elections for all the wrong reasons. While campaigning in Sultanpur, Maneka had warned Muslims that if they don’t vote for the BJP, they wouldn’t get jobs. “I have already won the elections, but you will need me. This is your chance to lay the foundation. When the election comes and this booth throws up 100 votes or 50 votes, and then you come to me for work we will see...I don’t see any divides, I see only pain, sadness and love. So it is up to you...” she had said.  

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The district election officer issued a notice over these comments. 

Later, she said that if she wins, she would divide villages in her constituency into A,B,C and D categories according to the votes she got from each village. “The village where we get 80% votes is A, the village in which we get 60% is B, the village in which we get 50% is C and the village where we get less than 50% is D. The development work first happens in all A category villages. After work in A category regions is done, then comes B and only after work in B is done, we start with C. So this is up to you whether you make it to A, B or C and no one should come in D because we all have come here to do good,” she had said. 

Varun has also made similar threatening comments to voters. “My mother is contesting from here (Sultanpur) and she is a noble soul. You all should vote for ‘Mata’ that is ‘Bharat Mata’. You are living in Hindustan and you should vote for Hindustan. If you vote for others (read SP-BSP alliance), you will be voting for Pakistan,” he said recently. 

Gandhi contested elections for the first time in 1984 as an independent candidate from Amethi against Rajiv Gandhi. She lost. She became an MP after winning from Pilibhit in 1989 on a ticket from Janata Dal. She has also held several posts in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet. 

Gandhi had made controversial comments on marital rape in 2018. She had said, “The point is that rape is already illegal. You don’t have to now further diminish it and say that this is rape and this is marital rape.”

When allegations were levelled against MJ Akbar during #MeToo movement in India, Gandhi was one of the only members of the Narendra Modi cabinet to say that a probe must be carried out on Akbar.