They are amongst the most educated candidates fighting the Lok Sabha polls. And for Delhi’s voters — looking for a change from run-of-the-mill politicians — Independent candidates and those belonging to newly formed parties should have provided the perfect opportunity to make a difference.
But voters who came out on May 7 were either not aware of the Independents or did not feel they were important enough to vote for. In East Delhi, Dr Prem Singh (52), an associate professor of Hindi at Delhi University, is amongst the most qualified of candidates. “I know of Dr Singh,” said Vandana Mishra, who turned up to vote at Alchon Public School, Mayur Vihar.
Mishra, a lecturer at Moti Lal Nehru College did not reveal whether she would support Singh. “I vote on ideological grounds. I look at the party on a larger scale and vote for the party that is closest to my ideologies,” she said.
While a handful of voters were aware of Singh’s candidature, many said they would vote for a party. “I want a stable government at the Centre and that is why I have voted for a party. Too many Independents will only lead to a fractured verdict,” said Labhesh Popli (23).
Singh admitted that Indian voters had a mindset that needed changing. “Voters think that an Independent candidate will lose anyway. So why bother voting,” he said. “For voters I am a qualified Independent like many others and that will definitely affect my chances,” Singh said.
Similarly, voters in Seemapuri, Timarpur and Seelampur in Northeast Delhi were unaware of Independent candidate Prof. Ramesh Narain Singh (61), a PhD in economics and director with Amity Group of Institutions.
In New Delhi constituency, Youth For Equality (YFE) — the students’ organization making its debut this time — also failed to impress voters. Major Sangeeta Tomar (40) is contesting on the YFE ticket.“I think it will take Independents a long time to convince people to vote for them. There are so many Independents and smaller parties in the fray that one tends to remember only the major players,” said Rishab Katiyal, a voter at MC Primary School, Shashi Garden, East Delhi.