Jaipur: Zahida Khan, a Meo-Muslim looks all set to create a record, if she manages to bag a ministerial post in the Ashok Gehlot led Congress government of Rajasthan. The lady in question has the reputation of breaking all norms and creating records Rajasthan.
In 2008 when she contested first time assembly polls from Kaman constituency, she won to become the first woman MLA from the Meo-Muslim community. Zahida was elevated to the position of Chief Parliament Secretary. She also, happens to be the first woman from the community, to be appointed as the General Secretary of All India Mahila Congress.
Given the popularity that Zahida enjoys in the area, it was but obvious that she would be winning with a huge margin. And she did, defeat her BJP opponent by a huge margin of 39621 votes. Interestingly, Zahida, popularly dubbed as the daughter of Mewat, has secured the maximum number of votes – 110789, which way higher than the total votes that what seasoned politicians like Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot have got.
On being asked about this feat, she laughed and said, “Yes, so do I hear that I have managed to get the highest number of votes in the entire Rajasthan.”
A law graduate from Delhi University believes that education is the key for the progress of women from her community. Meo-Muslim is considered to be one of the most backward communities.
Speaking to eNewsroom, she said, “We have always believed that education can bring about a big change in the community. Hence, my focus, like my earlier stint will be on the promotion of women education.” On being asked about what kind of work she and her daughter, Shahnaz Khan, who is also the sarpanch of their village do for the welfare of women, she reiterated, “We have always maintained that educating women is the only way to empower them. Through education only, they will be able to exercise their right. Hence, we will be focusing on education of the girl child.”
She then added, “Water remains to be a major issue in this part of the state. We still don’t have access to soft water. Around 200 villages in this area still have to survive on hard water. Given our proximity to river Chambal, I will we focusing on the renewal of the Chambal Pariyojna or the Chambal Project, so that the water of the river reaches to the villages.”
Zahida, maintained that despite the fact that she is no newcomer to politics, she has had to work hard to register this huge a win. “We have had to work a lot at the ground level, to make an impact in the minds of the voters. Anti-incumbency wave was there, but we had to work a lot to register this huge a win. Needless to say, we got a lot of support from the common man.”
On being asked, what she would be doing for the Meo community, which has been specially targeted by the cow vigilantes in the past five years, she said, “To be honest, we were never this polarized as society, as we have been in the past few years. And that primarily was the way that the BJP government perhaps wanted it to be. People have voted against the politics of hate, you can see the performance of BJP leaders in the Mewat region.”