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What do left leaning Richa Singh and right wing Kundanika Sharma have in common? The Samajwadi Party

Last week, both women deserted their long-held affiliations and joined another camp —- the Samajwadi Party.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj |
Updated: April 20, 2016 1:48:32 pm
BJP, UP BJP, UP SP, BJP leader, UP, SP, UP assembly poll, UP assembly poll candidate, Kundanika Sharma, india news AUSU president Richa Singh and Kundanika Sharma with SP’s Shivpal Yadav, in Lucknow Saturday. (Vishal Srivastav)

In two corners of Uttar Pradesh, two outspoken women have scripted an unusual narrative that could have implications for the upcoming state elections.

One is the first ever female president of Allahabad University’s student union, Richa Singh; the other is Agra-resident and former BJP councillor Kundanika Sharma whose father Gopaldas Neeraj wrote famous film lyrics, including for some songs in Dev Anand’s movies. Sharma was booked for her hate speech in Agra recently as reported first by The Indian Express, when during a rally she openly exhorted people to nab Muslims and behead them.

At the other end of the spectrum is Singh who carried out the lone fight against the ABVP-dominated student union while facing hurdles at every step.

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Last week, both women deserted their long-held affiliations and joined another camp —- the Samajwadi Party. Sharma was immediately gifted a party ticket for the assembly elections and Singh should get one soon.

Less than a fortnight ago, Singh was invited to speak in Delhi by some of the country’s top intellectuals, journalists and writers, where she
delivered a stirring speech, as befitting a young student leader, against the negative nature of present politics. She urged honest people to unite and save the country. Then she joined the Mulayam Singh’s party that is widely perceived as a decaying force in UP.

The Delhi event saw the presence of several Left groups — Singh now compares their “extremism” to the right wing extremist and sees hope only in the Yadavs.

Sharma’s stand is equally curious. She joined Mulayam Singh because her parent party did not “help” her in the cases filed against her after her hate speech, never mind that the SP, perceived by its opponents as an “appeaser of Muslims”, is unlikely to entertain her invocations of “beheading” the community members.

The shifting of these goalposts might not have any immediate impact on the UP polls but it does underline that in the sharp, tectonic lines in the state anything is possible in the next nine months.

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