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In Himachal’s Mandi, it is the Lok Sabha battle between the Queen and the Prince


BJP's Kangana Ranaut is a fiery Sanatani set to teach lessons to Congress

By Sushil Kutty

Mandi Congress candidate Vikramaditya Singh says temples in the constituency must be “scrubbed clean” because BJP rival Kangana Ranaut stepped into them and Kangana has revolting eating habits. Like she wouldn't let go of a slice of beef fried to a crispy brown. Singh says Kangana has spoken of her eating habits on Social Media and he is only echoing the actor verbatim.

In Pradesh, this is a huge accusation as Himachal is one of two “Devbhoomi”, the other being Uttarakhand. The actor-wanting-to-turn-Member of Parliament has thrown a challenge to the Congress and it is “real-life Prince” up against a “reel-life Queen”. Also, with Ranaut in the fray, Vikramaditya Singh is in the news, not the other way round.

The “Queen” is more celebrity than Singh will ever be, within or outside the precincts of Mandi. Kangana has also experience of being Rani Lakshmibai; ‘Thalaivi Jayalalithaa' and Indira ‘Emergency' Gandhi. And it is only because Kangana is his rival that the “Prince” has deigned to make an issue of Kangana's eating habits. That Singh can be as vicious as Ranaut is a revelation for denizens of Himachal Pradesh.

Vikramaditya Singh has certainly grown up in the months since he stepped into the “Queen's” ring. Singh's “scrub clean” temples Ranaut stepped into is topic of debate even in far-below Kerala where, by Singh's token, the Guruvayoor temple should also be “cleaned” every morning because Kerala Hindus take their “beef” to bed and many start their day with beef on the tongue.

“Several things about her eating habits are there on social media. This is defaming our deity . Temples which she visited need to be cleaned. This is what several people — who want to protect the deity culture — are saying,” Vikramaditya Singh, who is the Himachal Pradesh Public Works and Urban Development Minister, said.

If Kangana beats him to the Lok Sabha, there would be no end to Singh's temple cleaning because Kangana Ranaut would then be a frequent visitor to Mandi, which is also her home district. Did Vikramaditya Singh bite more than what he could chew? Reality is, Singh made Ranaut lie on debut. Kangana doesn't like her beef is as big a lie as saying actor Ranbir Kapoor wouldn't recognize a cow if one walked into his kitchen.

Khans and Bollywood dinners sans beef is a big fat lie and Kangana Ranaut knows this even if she says otherwise. Also, Kangana is a sucker for the holier than thou attitude, which she strikes at the drop of a hat. Seemingly Kangana Ranaut is losing her touch. The best she could come up with, to the “beef eating” barb, was “Khooni panja”, alluding to the Congress election symbol. “We must burn down the bloody hand and use its ashes to clean the state,” she retorted, not forgetting to call the Congress “choron ki party” and Vikramaditya Singh a “maha chor”.

Vikramaditya Singh couldn't take this lying down. “There is a limit to everything. We are political opponents but we should respect each other. Moreover, elections should be contested on public issues. We should spell out our vision. But unfortunately, the BJP candidate has resorted to filthy language, which is unacceptable even to BJP cadres.”

The Himachali electorate is enjoying this to-and-fro. The state is witnessing an exciting election for the first time in decades, thanks to Kangana Ranaut. Without Kangana in the fray, Prince Vikramaditya Singh wouldn't have turned heads. “The Dev Samaj is talking about it. I don't know anything about her eating habits. I saw some interviews. And if that was true, it would tarnish Sanatan sanskriti.”

Coming from a Congress leader, this is refreshing. Claims that the Congress does not care for “Sanatan sanskriti” have gone out the window even if the Himachali are complaining that electioneering has never touched such lows. Himachal Pradesh has four Lok Sabha seats and they go to the polls in the seventh and final phase of polling on June 1. There is still time for Ranaut and Singh to keep attacking each other.

People haven't forgotten Congress Working Committee member and party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate's attack on Ranaut, which prompted Kangana to claim the “Daughter of Mandi” title, asserting that an attack on her “honour” was an “attack on the honour of all women of Mandi.” Vikramaditya Singh tried patching up, calling Kangana his “elder sister” but Kangana branded “Chhota Pappu”.

And, when the Congress took umbrage to this, Ranaut said Vikramaditya was “like her younger brother”. Singh says Ranaut wouldn't win the election and Kangana, referring to Vikramaditya as “Shehzada”, says Singh doesn't respect women “including his wife”. Singh's mother Pratibha Singh — the sitting MP from Mandi — says Kangana is a peddler of lies, and a “haseen pari” — a beautiful fairy — at best. Kangana Ranaut wouldn't have any complaints about that, would she?

(IPA Service)




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