A campaign poster of Independent candidate from Ranchi Sajiya Haider features the ladies’ purse as her Lok Sabha poll symbol. Telegraph pictures
Fair is far this Lok Sabha election in Jharkhand and among the handful women candidates in the fray is an Independent young homemaker from Ranchi who hopes to take her fight for ladli beti (the girl child) to Parliament.
Sajiya Haider, the 20-year-old intermediate-qualified mother of two daughters and a son, never dreamt an MP dream until husband Mohammed Anisuddin Haider persuaded her to take up the cause of women in a rapacious world dominated by the opposite gender.
The resident of Joda Talab area in Bariatu filed her nomination for the Ranchi hot seat on March 26 and is now in the thick of campaigning. Janta chhiyasuth saal ka hisab chahti hai, aap ke waade ka jawab chahti hai (People want a record of what you promised and what you did in the past 66 years since Independence) — Sajiya’s poster punchline refers to the UPA government at the Centre.
Armed with a purse, also her election symbol, the Independent candidate and lone woman hopeful from Ranchi hits the campaign trail as early as 6am. Husband Anisuddin and a bunch of supporters in tow, she tours pockets like Kanke, Boreya, Silli and Namkum to generate awareness against trafficking, rape and domestic violence.
From Wednesday, Sajiya will launch a road show in the capital directed against social malaise such as child marriage and dowry.
“I am in a tough competition being the only female candidate among 28 from the Ranchi seat,” the young mother is candid. She is also confident at the same time. “All I wish for is a safe world for women. They should feel free and self-sufficient. I am sanguine that women voters will favour me,” she tells The Telegraph.
Sajiya strongly feels that participation of women is of utmost important in a democratic set-up. “It is surprising that major political parties (BJP, Congress and JMM) haven’t fielded female candidates this time.” The JVM has a single woman nominee, Neelam Devi from Chatra, while AAP has roped in anti-displacement crusader Dayamani Barla from Khunti.
Sajiya has many a question in mind to which she is seeking answers. “Do we teach our daughters how to dress and behave in public or do we tell them that they should fight to live a life of dignity?” she asks her motley group of audience. “Education is a must for the girl child. Police should ensure they are not raped or trafficked,” she attempts an answer to her own query.
“We women often suffer at home (read domestic violence). This must stop. I seek an opportunity to raise my voice against violence at home and outside, against trafficking and rape; No party has raised our issues so far. I want to bridge that gap. We have to stop atrocities against women,” Sajiya says and wins applause from a handful of female listeners.
Whether her voice resonates in Parliament or not, the homemaker has made sure she helps women in Ranchi. She has started a computer centre for Muslim girls in Hindpiri and is persuading parents to send daughters to school. “If I win, I will start computer classes in other areas too,” said the tech-savvy candidate.