By Vishal Gulati
Panchkula, Oct 9 (IANS): She fought against the mighty state and its top police officials to get justice for Ruchika Girhotra, a molestation victim who ended her life at a young age.
At 70, lawyer-cum-activist Madhu Anand Prakash is now fighting a different battle against the system to ensure justice for all.
The Swaraj India candidate from this Assembly seat in Haryana, she is riding high in an e-rickshaw on the waves of popularity as a crusader against the high and mighty.
"I want to serve society. Too many people have been coming to me for long for some sort of help, but I can't do much justice with them without any authority," said a confident Madhu, who lost her husband and fellow crusader Anand Prakash in January last year.
The advocate couple fought the case of their daughter Aradhana Gupta's friend Ruchika for 26 years.
Ruchika was molested by then Director General of Police S.P.S. Rathore at his house-cum-Haryana Lawn Tennis Association office here on August 12, 1990.
Three years after the crime, budding tennis player Ruchika committed suicide.
Aradhana's testimony and a long legal battle by the advocate couple had led to Rathore's conviction in the trial court.
His conviction was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2016.
"Yes, people are recognising me from that unfortunate case. Even if I am telling them about myself, they feel elated to meet me," said Madhu, who spent half her life in Panchkula.
She said this is her maiden contest in any election.
With her family members and a small bunch of friends and well-wishers, a team of 25 people fan out daily across the area with a focus to visit villages and slums where people are still deprived of basic amenities.
"We start our day early in the morning in five groups by visiting the city's parks with the focus to interact with the walkers in order to change their mindset towards the politicians. Later in the day we visit markets and public places and hold small meetings and 'nukkad' interaction sessions over a cup of tea," she said.
Leaving behind her car, Madhu, who goes nostalgic over Lata Mangeshkar songs, and her team prefer to ride on an e-rickshaw to visit places.
For her, joining politics was a tough decision.
"When initially Swaraj India people contacted me, I resisted entering politics. Later, I was convinced that politics too need good people to wage a war against the money power. So I finally took a decision to jump into politics to do social work and to fight against injustice," she said.
For her, lack of infrastructure development in education and health by BJP's sitting legislator and candidate Gian Chand Gupta are among the prominent issues. Unemployment and poor plight of slum-dwellers are the issues core to her heart.
"There is one hospital to cater to the entire Panchkula city and that is too overcrowded. Rise in dog bite cases is another problem," she said.
She said party President Yogender Yadav and rebel AAP Patiala former MP Dharamvira Gandhi would campaign for her.
"She is the real crusader of 'Beti Bachao' movement," says a tweet by Swaraj India.