Meet Ranjeet Ranjan: The Congress MP who rode to parliament on a Harley Davidson

New Delhi: When Congress MP RanjeetRanjan drove a Harley-Davidson Street Bob into Parliament, it was not the first time she was going off the beaten track.

At 15, Ranjeet used to borrow bikes from her friends to ride it. Two years ago, at 40, she finally bought her own bike– a 900 cc Super Low and four months ago upgraded it to a 1600 cc Harley. “I have driven it to Agra, on the Jaipur highway and Surajkaund, but I was reluctant to ride on it to Parliament. Today, I decided to overcome that inhibition,” she said talking to DNA.

Wearing a blue kurta with trouser and sun glasses on her orange and black bike, she stole the show setting off the tone for Women’s Day in Parliament on Tuesday morning and drawing praise even from women on the other side of the political aisle.
“Its fantastic. Why should boys have all the fun?” said BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi, who drives a Volkswagen Beetle to Parliament.
Ranjit, a mother of two, said it was her son who encouraged her to drive the bike, giving her a note saying “my mother looks the happiest when she is on the bike.”
The Lok Sabha MP from Supaul in Bihar has often broken norms. For the girl, who was called a “tom boy” and liked wearing shorts, life has taken several twists and turns, some dictated by circumstances and others by choice.
Taking a deviation from her party’s views favouring 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies, she said it would ensure seats for the kith and kin of those already in politics. “Actual representation would be only if those who do not get opportunity get into Parliament,” she said.
Initially hesitant to join politics, her husband Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav being rejected bail in 2003 in the Left leader Ajit Sarkar’s murder case was the turning point. “My daughter was seven months old and I didnt want to get into politics. I used to hate politics. But, after his bail was rejected, I decided to fight for him and me,” she said.
Ranjit, however, grew to like politics. “There was so much struggle. My sports helped me,” said the Congress politician who played lawn tennis at the state level but had wanted to be PT Usha. It was on one of the award ceremonies in Patna, where she was doing her Sociology Honours, that Yadav saw her.
“We were Sikhs and they (Yadav’s family) were Hindus. I had no idea about how caste mattered till I got married,” said Ranjeetwho had first campaigned in Purnea in 1999.
However, she said her in-laws were broadminded and allowed her to wear trousers. “Like my parents, they too gave me a lot of freedom,” she said.
When she was in class four, she started riding the bicycle and her father, who was in the army, taught her how to ride the Hero Majestic before he taught her brother.
Today, one of the most articulate MPs in Lok Sabha, Ranjeethas only mission before her– to ensure that she does not tread off the “right” path.