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From hearse driver to filmmaker, the women leading MCD charge

While each party must give 136 seats to women, the BJP has fielded 138 women, the AAP 142 and the Congress 144.

Written by Naveed Iqbal , Pragya Kaushika , Sweta Dutta | New Delhi |
Updated: April 12, 2017 8:19:52 am
MCD polls, MCD female candidates, MCD women candidates, MCD elections, municipal elections, delhi news, india news, indian express news Yasmin Kidwai of the Congress campaigns at Sunder Nursery.

With half of the 272 wards reserved for women in the upcoming municipal polls, the push for each party seems to be younger and more educated candidates who also connect with voters on the ground. While each party must give 136 seats to women, the BJP has fielded 138 women, the AAP 142 and the Congress 144. The Indian Express caught up with some of them.

Poorva Sankla, 22
(BJP, Raghubir Nagar)

The party’s youngest candidate, Sankla is a B.Tech graduate and left an engineering job to enter politics. She was associated with the ABVP, and her family has worked with the outfit for years. Sankla believes her educational background helped her get a ticket. “The party is looking for educated people who look into problems of the area,” she said.

Twinkle Kalia, 34
(BJP, Kishan Ganj ward)

A hearse and an ambulance driver, Twinkle started her journey as Swaraj Abhiyaan candidate but joined the BJP Tuesday after the party’s nomination was cancelled. Twinkle started driving an ambulance 14 years ago. “When my husband was 14, his father had an accident and remained in coma for two years. He always wanted to provide service to the needy, and when I married him, he did not take dowry but got an ambulance, initially used to ferry or to arrange blood for patients of dengue or chikungunya,” said Kalia.

A doctorate in naturopathy and a part-time health insurance advisor, Kalia said she now has a fleet of eight ambulances and two hearses. She has drivers but whenever they are unavailable, she gets down to work. “The satisfaction one gets in helping the patients and their families is enough for us,” said Kalia.

Swati Sachdeva, 28
(AAP, Model Town)

A personality development and public speaking trainer, Sachdeva has been associated with the AAP since the anti-corrpution movement. “I never thought about entering politics. I was never interested in campus politics. But my association with the anti-corruption movement and the will to change politics got me here,” said Sachdeva, who studies BCom (honours) at DU’s Hansraj College.

She said that sanitation, waterlogging and unkempt parks are the main issues in her area. “People like the fact that I am young and educated. The amount of pampering I get from voters, especially the elderly, has boost my confidence,” she said.

Pooja Pandey, 26
(AAP, Mubarakpur Dabas)

Earlier with NSUI, Pandey, a political science student, was vice-president of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College. “I got interested in politics again during the anti-corruption movement. I was also the school management committee member in a school in Mubarakpur. People in the area know me well because I have worked with them for many years,” said the former teacher. “Sanitation and more primary schools are a priority for me.”

Prerna Singh, 38
(Cong, Anand Parbat)

The Congress councillor is seeking re-election from her constituency, while admitting that not much has moved on the ground in the last three years. The University of Leeds graduate said streets need repair, drains need to be covered and roads need lights, but says AAP has made execution difficult. “People know these issues came up only in AAP’s term. We are struggling to maintain even old projects,” she said.

Yasmin Kidwai, 40
(Cong, Darya Ganj)

Campaigning in Darya Ganj, which has, post-delimitation, expanded to include areas of Nizamuddin, is like campaigning in “mini-India”, said Kidwai. A filmmaker, she hopes to make her foray into politics a “positive story of change”, as portrayed in her last documentary, No Problem!, based on rural solar electrification in Rajasthan where women from all over the world are being trained as solar engineers. She said she is focussing on development, women’s issues and the elderly. “I am not an armchair activist. I’d like to be on ground and contribute,” she said. “As someone who understands expectations of people, I will be able to deliver.”

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