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Sparks fly in Mandi in close fight between ‘Queen’ Kangana, ‘shehzada’ Vikramaditya

As she emerges from an SUV, flanked by two gun-toting paramilitary force personnel, a slogan blares from the dais, a short walk away. “Phool nahin chingari hai…“, says the enthusiastic BJP worker on the mic. Finishes the assembled crowd: “Yeh Bharat ki nari hai.” The implication: “Ranaut is not a flower but a spark, everything an Indian woman should be”.

As the 37-year-old walks briskly to the stage, accepting garlands held out by the crowd in this village located between Kullu and Manali in the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, the speaker on the dais raises a new slogan, “Kangana tum aagey bado…”. The next one goes — “Raja-Tikka nahin chalenge… Nahin chalenge, nahin chalenge (The Raja and prince won’t do),” the reference being to Kangana Ranaut’s Congress rival from the Mandi seat, Vikramaditya Singh.

In terms of area, Mandi is the largest constituency in Himachal, covering Mandi, Kullu and Chamba districts, apart from the remote Lahaul and Spiti. BJP workers accompanying the actor-turned-politician,who is making her debut, say that Ranaut has visited all the 17 Assembly segments at least once so far. Voting is still more than a fortnight away, on June 1.

Wearing the now-ubiquitous Himachali cap, Ranaut greets the gathering with a “Jai Shri Ram”, acknowledges the cheers, and draws a laugh when
she begins with: “I know all of you are bored, listening to the others before me… Ab aapki mujhe sunane ki baari hai (Now, it is your turn to listen to me).”

The BJP is listening closely too, for any gaffes similar to the one in the first week of May when, seeking to attack RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav over a fish-eating row, Ranaut had taken a swipe at Bengaluru South BJP MP Tejasvi Surya instead, apparently confusing the two. The Opposition had a

Read more on indianexpress.com