BJP Delhi Girl Nupur Sharma Leads Women’s Campaign in Rural Bihar
Pammi Kumar, local BJP MLA’s wife campaigns in one of the least developed districts of Arwal, Bihar.
Clad in a bright yellow saree, with perfect makeup, Pammi Kumar is all dressed up for ‘prachar’. While a seasoned Nupur Sharma is in her sports shoes, a blue kurta and a crumpled dupatta tied in a knot on the side so it doesn’t bother her. She leads Pammi and a small team of women in a remote village in one of the worst Naxal-affected regions in Bihar.
Nupur Sharma is a known face in Delhi elections. The young London School of Economics graduate, who took on Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi elections, has hit the campaign trail in the heart of rural Bihar.
Sharma is leading a women’s team in Arwal and neighbouring districts, along with the local BJP MLA’s wife Pammi Kumar. Their objective – to reach out to women voters, who form 50% of the electorate that campaigners in Bihar seldom meet or greet.
This is the first time I am campaigning. My husband Chitranjan Kumar fought in 2005 and won, but I didn’t step out. People are shocked to see me, they are shocked to see their MLA’s wife campaigning.
— Pammi Kumar, BJP MLA’s Wife
Kumar is a little nervous and hesitant at first, but follows Sharma’s lead. In a region where women don’t step out of their homes after 1 PM, seeing their local MLA’s wife out on the streets campaigning along with a Delhi girl has grabbed a lot of attention.
Arwal is a rural constituency and women are not used to stepping out. So I have formed a local women’s team with the MLA’s wife. If a man screams asking women to come out, the women would rush into the farthest room inside. So I go in and drag them out.
—Nupur Sharma, BJP, Delhi
No candidate has women campaigning for them, especially in rural Bihar. While the sight of Sharma leading a small women’s team is symbolic, it is also representative of cadre mobilisation engineered by the BJP.
In Delhi, my grandparents, parents and family campaigned for me. It is not like that here. No other candidate has women campaigning, and definitely not women from their family. But then, development starts at home.
— Nupur Sharma, BJP, Delhi
Chitranjan Kumar’s wife is a teacher in Patna. With a radiant smile, she is by far his most charismatic campaigner. “Oh nahi nahi”, is her reaction when asked if she would ever contest elections herself. She teaches in Patna and thinks it is high time the status of women changed in Bihar. It is happening, she says, slowly, but it is happening.
The status of women needs to change in Bihar. If you look at Aurangabad or Arwal where we are, this is a Naxalite area. There are places here where women don’t step out after 1 PM. They run inside their homes. But now things are changing gradually. You might think I’m saying it because of my husband, but it is true.
— Pammi Kumar, BJP MLA’s Wife
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