Eleven years ago, while trying to save a stranger from being crushed in a bus accident in Chhattisgarh, nursing student Jyoti Kundu lost her right arm till almost her shoulder. That marked the beginning of a new life for the young woman from Bacheli in Dantewada district. She went on to marry P V Vikas, a CISF personnel from Kerala and the stranger who had been her fellow passenger on the bus that met with an accident.
Now Jyoti Vikas, she is contesting as a BJP candidate from the Kollangode block panchayat in Kerala’s Palakkad district, which will go to polls on December 10. A mother of two, aged 8 and 4, the 30-year-old has been drawing an enthusiastic response as she addresses people in fluent Malayalam.
Jyoti says the January 3, 2010, accident had cut short her dream of serving people as a nurse. “If elected, I hope that dream will blossom in a new way.”
That day, Jyoti had been travelling home from her college hostel. Vikas, who was on his way to a CISF camp, sat in the row ahead of her and was dozing when she saw a speeding truck heading straight into the bus. Realising what was going to happen, Jyoti pushed Vikas away on time, saving his life, but getting her right arm crushed between the bus and the truck.
She was rushed to a local hospital and later to a specialty hospital in Raipur, where her arm was amputated below the shoulder, shattering her dreams and those of her parents. “He (Vikas) took me to hospital and stayed there throughout my treatment. He also paid the hospital bills,” says Jyoti.
Vikas, now posted at Coimbatore airport, says that initially he did not know Jyoti had lost her arm trying to save him.
“At the hospital, a co-passenger told me what had happened. I was moved. When I asked her why she tried to save a stranger, Jyoti said she is a nursing student and could not just look away.”
Vikas says he felt responsible. “I thought I should give her a new life. That led to the marriage proposal.”
However, Jyoti’s family, particularly father Govind Kundu, a government employee, opposed the match. So, one day, she walked out of her home and travelled to Palakkad along with Vikas. In April 2011, they got married.
With Vikas’s CISF job taking him across the country, Jyoti stays at home taking care of their young children. The decision to contest was as instinctive as that day’s 10 years ago. “I have not been active in the BJP. But when BJP leaders asked me to contest, I agreed… I think politics would offer me a new avenue.”
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