By Sharat Pradhan
Maharajganj (Uttar Pradesh) : Powerful Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh minister Amarmani Tripathi has had a nasty surprise as he tries to win election from jail – the mother and sister of poetess Madhumita Shukla whom he is accused of murdering after being her friend for years are campaigning to defeat him.
Tripathi is contesting the state elections from Laxmipur in Maharajganj district that will see voting in the final round of the staggered elections Tuesday.
What has come as a shock to him is the sudden appearance of Madhumita's sister Nidhi, who has dared the once all-powerful criminal-turned-politician by launching a shrill campaign against him.
Madhumita, 26, was gunned down in her two-room flat in Lucknow's downmarket Paper Mill Colony May 9, 2003. Six months pregnant when she died, a DNA test confirmed the unborn baby was fathered by Tripathi.
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the case also nailed Amarmani's wife Madhumani as a conspirator in the murder. Both are lodged in the Dehradun prison.
Accompanied by her mother, Nidhi is going door-to-door in Laxmipur to apprise people of the heinous crime allegedly committed by Tripathi and the manner in which he tried to intimidate Madhumita's family and destroy evidence.
"Please vote for someone clean; not a criminal," is Nidhi's appeal to all and sundry.
She makes it loud and clear: "I am not here to campaign for any political party or to hold brief for any candidate; I simply wish to humbly appeal to you to shun someone as tainted as Amarmani Tripathi."
She has declined offers from certain political parties to use their forum for the anti-Amarmani campaign.
Nidhi was responsible for not only getting the trial in her sister's murder case shifted to Uttaranchal but for ensuring Tripathi's transfer to Dehradun jail following exposure of the five-star luxuries that were provided to him in the Uttar Pradesh prisons by an obliging Mulayam Singh Yadav government.
Since Tripathi's maternal uncle Shyam Narain Tiwari, also a minister in the Mulayam Singh cabinet, is contesting from neighbouring Pharenda constituency, Nidhi has plans of playing spoilsport there too.
"After all it is this uncle who was running Amarmani's campaign show. Therefore I must go on campaigning against him too.
"I would like to ask Amarmani's uncle how he would have felt if a young girl from his family had been subjected to the same fate as Madhumita's."