When Neeta Solanki, 47, first learnt how to drive an auto for fun, she would have never guessed that it would come in handy years later.
The State Election Commission (SEC) has given Solanki an ‘autorickshaw’ as her election symbol, and the housewife cum social worker has made sure that her voters associate the symbol with her.
An independent candidate who rebelled against Congress for denying her a ticket, Solanki has borrowed an auto from a supporter, and spends her time driving it around to campaign in Lajpat Nagar.
With her followers in tow, Solanki drives from colony to colony asking people to vote for her. Sometimes her assistant rides at the back, and other times women cram inside to cheer her on.
Solanki, who hails from a middle-class family, first learned to drive an auto about 10-15 years ago.
Being a member of the Congress, she worked at the grassroot level and this is where she made friends with autowallahs. One such time, she requested an autowallah to teach her how to drive.
“I learnt it in a day. I think it is one of the most fun vehicles. There is a thrill in driving an auto that I cannot put into words,” says Solanki, who hands over the wheel to one of her supporters when she gets tired.
The mother of three was asked to choose between three election symbols by the SEC — a cylinder, an autorickshaw and a hat.
“Autorickshaw was my first choice. It was like someone had fulfiled my wish. I rejected the hat because I don’t want people to say maine unko topi pehna di,” she says.
“When I drive on the streets, people get curious and ask me questions. I’m glad my campaigning is getting noticed,” says Solanki.
She is pitted against Congress candidate Kavita Malhotra and BJP candidate Vandana Bhagat in the upcoming municipal elections.