The most dreaded dacoit ‘Bandit Queen’ Phoolan Devi who was assassinated two decades back will be making a reappearance in the Uttar Pradesh electoral politics. Phoolan Devi who became a Lok Sabha member was shot dead outside her Delhi residence in 2001. She hailed from the ‘Nishad’ (boatmen, fishermen) community, which commands considerable influence in around 50 assembly constituencies in UP, where elections are barely nine months away.
Bihar minister and president of Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) Mukesh Sahni, who declares himself as ‘son of mallah’ (son of boatman) and declared to contest the assembly polls in UP, indicated that he intends to cash in on the popularity of Phoolan in the ‘Nishad’ community. He also declared, ”We will be celebrating July 25, the day Phoolan Devi was assassinated, as martyrdom day across UP. Our workers will be paying tribute to her and recall her services for the Nishad community”.
Nishad Party had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the BJP and its President Sanjay Nishad was nominated as the BJP party candidate from Sant Kabir Nagar LS seat. ”We are ready to nominate Sanjay Nishad from any seat he wants in the 2022 assembly polls. After all, he too is our brother. We appeal to him to join hands with us to raise the issue of inclusion of the community in the SC/ST category for reservation,” Mukesh Sahni said.
Mukesh has ruled out any alliance with BJP in the coming elections. While the members and cadre of Nishad Party are quite buoyant with the decision of Mukesh, BJP is keen on striking an alliance with Nishad Party in view of their strong vote bank which can play key role in the politics of Uttar Pradesh.