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Little Ariba campaigned for her father
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

New Delhi: Ariba Khan wants to make a career in politics. She studies in Class IV at Tiny Tots School in Panchsheel Park and is all of eight years old. 

A month ago, Ariba wanted to become a doctor. But that was before the MCD polls. Now Ariba, the star of her incarcerated father, independent candidate Asif Mohammad Khanís victory from the Okhla constituency, has changed her mind. Father Asif is in the high-security Tihar Jail after the Delhi Police booked him for plastering posters criticising BJPís new-found messiah, the US. 

People of the Muslim-majority Okhla constituency have no doubt Ariba is the single greatest factor in Asif Mohammad Khanís 14,000-vote victory over his heavyweight Congress and BJP rivals. 

Ariba is hopeful that her fatherís victory will lead to his early release. Aribaís mother also campaigned, separately. But it was Ariba all the way, say Okhla residents. 

Asif Mohammed Khan is now a councillor. Where does that leave Ariba? "She had to bunk her school for two days for campaigning. But I am sure that she will make up," says mother Fahmina. Ariba also missed Popeye, her favourite comic character, and her favourite filmstar Salman Khan. 

School apart, this little girl is now being groomed by her family as a future politician. She already has the support of most, if not all, women of her fatherís ward. "She will work for the welfare of her community," says one. Who is her favourite political leader? "Atal Behari Vajpayee" shouts a supporter. But Ariba is quiet. "Yes I want to be a leader", she says with a toothy smile.
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