Dalit.

Woman.

Not the usual two descriptors that come to mind in the popular imagination of a politician, or even a prospective one.

And why is that, you sometimes wonder. (If you’ve just landed on planet earth from a lifetime of orbiting in outer space, that is).

But let’s step back and bite the rhetoric. Why not?

The one thing that’s never been associated with either of those identities is the one thing that everybody hungers for – Power.

And so it is that when you see a Dalit woman inching close to it, it is as if everything around her is energized – somehow the aeons spent in deliberate oppression of entire communities and races in a systemic manner, come together in that one figure and moment. It hits you and everyone around witnessing the phenomenon: The birth of the powerful other.

Trailing Kiran Verma, the Dalit woman with solid chances of a ticket from the BJP in Banda this U.P. election season, is therefore a whirlwind proposition: having chased her for months, we’re thrilled to be finally tagging along with her on her daily rounds of jan sampark. She sits down with the people and their problems, offering advice, help, promises, and her car for transport when she comes across someone helpless and immobile, struggling with schedules, between the women’s meet at the BJP office and her field campaign.

Drawn to the thrills and perils of a public life from a young age, Kiran started off her journey in rajneeti with the Bahujan Samaaj Party, which was the popular choice for a candidate from the margins, especially a woman, but was soon wooed and won over by the BJP. She has many firsts to her name and was the first Dalit woman to become a legislator and hold the post of the District Panchayat President. She’s now all set to become the first Dalit woman MLA from Banda.

This post is published in collaboration with Khabar Lahariya

Khabhar Lahariya

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