Eye on Nishad votes, Akhilesh meets Phoolan Devi's mother

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Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 14 : Bandit queen turned politician, Phoolan Devi, is emerging as a one of a major poll issue in the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. While the Nishad Party has been bending backwards to claim Phoolan's legacy and the Nishad votes, the Vikassheel Insaan Party of Bihar has announced that every Nishad home should have a Phoolan statue. Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday evening met Phoolan's mother, Moola Devi in Jalaun district and sought her blessings. This was the first time that he had met Phoolan's family. Akhilesh was on the first leg of his 'Samajwadi Vijay Yatra' when he took time off to meet Moola Devi who wished him success in the coming elections. Besides promising all help to the family, he also assured that he would recommend a CBI inquiry into the Phoolan's murder when his government is formed. It may be recalled that it was Mulayam Singh Yadav who had withdrawn cases against Phoolan Devi in 1994 and later, ensured her entry into politics. In 1996, Phoolan Devi became an MP from the Mirzapur Lok Sabha constituency in eastern Uttar Pradesh and was re-elected in 1999. In 2001, she was shot dead outside her Delhi residence. The former MP was popular among the Most Backward Castes (MBCs) in Mirzapur and other parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Phoolan Devi was born into the Nishad community in 1963 in the Ghura Ka Purwa village of Jalaun district. The SP's backward caste wing recently tried to install her statue in Raebareli but was not given permission. The VIP leaders had also made similar attempts but were denied permission. The move to eulogise Phoolan Devi is seen as an attempt to consolidate the votes of the Nishad community and set up Phoolan as an icon in the community. Her life in the ravines is being touted as a result of oppression by upper caste and the Behmai massacre, in which she reportedly gunned down 20 Thakurs, was her way of avenging her humiliation by the Thakur community. /IANS




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