Phoolan ‘killer’ in Tihar Jail, mother fights his poll battle

Among the 'cycle', 'elephant' posters in the villages that fall under Jewar Assembly constituency, there are a few posters of a young man "behind bars". For those who may miss the point, there is a lock on the bars.

Sher Singh Rana, the alleged killer of 'Bandit Queen' Phoolan Devi, is contesting from Jewar as an Independent. He is currently lodged at Delhi's Tihar Jail, and has moved a parole application for campaigning.

Rana's mother Satyawati, dressed in a white sari, is campaigning on her son's behalf.

She is aided by a group called the Rashtrawadi Pratap Sena (RPS). Lalit Rana, who introduces himself as the president of the RPS, says his "NGO is supporting only one candidate in this election".

Over 100 people attend an hour-long election meeting organised by the RPS in Dayanatpur village. The star campaigner for Rana is a first-year BSc student from Rajasthan's Udaipur. Unlike other speakers, Ravinder Pal Singh Rathode openly flaunts his Rajput links.

"I met Ranaji in Delhi when he was brought to the court on February 20. It was a great moment for me. I was inspired by his act when I was in the sixth standard. Ranaji is an avatar of Maharana Pratap," he tells The Sunday Express after making a fiery speech. Ravinder, a student of NCA College Udaipur, met RPS activists and offered his services after he saw a Facebook page in support of Rana.

Rana is allegedly one of the three masked men who shot former bandit and then MP Phoolan Devi on July 25, 2001. After his arrest, Rana reportedly claimed he had shot Phoolan to avenge the massacre of 22 Thakur men in UP's Behmai village in 1981.

"My son did not want to contest elections. He made up his mind after the people of Jewar forced him to do so. He now wants to make this region his karma mandal after his release," says Satyawati. She has constructed a house near Jewar, relocating here from Uttarakhand.

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