Smriti loses - ideal bahu cuts no ice with Delhi voters

MUMBAI: Indian television's favourite bahu may have tremendous telegenic appeal, but she has no electoral allure. Her numerologically altered nomenclature has failed to win Smriti Z Iraani the Chandni Chowk seat in Delhi against Congress candidate, the astute and often acerbic lawyer Kapil Sibal.

Iraani, who was touted as a prize catch by the Bharatiya Janata Party when she was roped into the party and made vice-president of the Maharashtra unit of the Yuva Morcha and then offered the Chandni Chowk candidature, had capitalised on her 'Tulsi' image extensively while campaigning. Chandni Chowk has traditionally been a BJP stronghold. 13 May however, turned to be unlucky for the TV star as she succumbed to Sibal by a record margin of 79,417 votes. The seat reverted to the Congress after two general elections, with Sibal cornering over 71 per cent of the total valid votes polled. This was a record for Chandni Chowk, which has never seen this high a percentage of votes cornered by a single political party. The maximum percentage of votes so far was 60.52 per cent, secured by the Congress in the 1984 elections, which was then riding high on the sympathy after Indira Gandhi's assasination.

Projecting herself as the ideal wife, mother and daughter in law, a confident Iraani, who plays Tulsi in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, had told the media, "I am not even looking at being defeated." Iraani's ire had broken out, however, when Mumbai eveninger Mid-day published allegations that Iraani, along with other celebrity catches of political parties, had accepted money for her membership.

The entire 'Virani' family that Tulsi is a part of, had turned up in strength in Chandni Chowk last week to campaign for Iraani. While viewers may be fond of Tulsi, they have given the thumbs down sign to Iraani. Sibal led the fray right from the first round of counting, and even areas like Bazar Sitaram, which media reports say are considered sympathetic to the BJP, did not give Iraani the lead.

For now, it's back to the Balaji sets for the bahu.

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