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Ex-Miss India Panag fires up AAP’s Delhi plot on bike

NEW DELHI: As the polls in the national capital inch to a close next week, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has roped in its spunky Chandigarh Lok Sabha candidate Gul Panag to give a leg up to their campaign with bike rallies.

Clad in body-hugging jacket, the aviators worn and her hair neatly tied into a plait, the former Miss India is leading a pack of trailblazers in constituencies where the party is fielding its women candidates.

The 36-year-old on Wednesday began her campaign with RK Puram candidate Pramila Tokas from Munirka, poignantly choosing the spot where the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape had shaken the collective conscience of the country.

“Its symbolic. The incident was horrifying and nothing has changed since then. Delhi is as patriarchal as other places. The purpose of this rally is to sensitise the women on what our party has to offer,” said Panag, who took her first bike lessons in a conservative Patiala at the age of 19.

“The last mile connectivity or SOS feature on mobile phone and instill both fearlessness among them, push them to come out of closet,” she said.

As she stopped at traffic intersections, many ran towards her to pose with her.

They were readily obliged even as an impromptu flash mob dance by the other riders broke into a melee.

But this rally must not have a feminist connotation, she warns as she is happy to oblige.

In recent years, at least six women-only bike clubs have come up in India, an indication of increasing participation, albeit with a minority of 5,000-odd such riders.

Considering most women crimes have taken place on roads, her party has framed women safety manifesto, called Delhi Dialogue, which is based on discussions with women from different walks of life.

Brimming with her affection for taking to road, AAP’s poster girl is quick to enumerate the poll promises on securing women that include civil defence force, decoy marshals in buses, and exclusive women toilets on roadsides are on the offer from the manifesto.

Though Panag had finished third in Chandigarh and her party could not secure a clean majority in their debut, she insists that Kejriwal’s candidates are better equipped to handle Delhi’s rising crime against women.

“No party has categorically demanded statehood for Delhi. To correct law and order situation in Delhi, we must get Delhi police and the civic authorities under the Delhi government,” she said.

“I was shocked at the way Delhi BJP candidate Kiran Bedi sidestepped the demand for Delhi police control under the NCT government,” she said.

She, though, agrees that too many protests by her party may have lowered its popularity to some extent.

“The focus of course will be on introducing right legislations,” she said.

Source: indiatimes

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