From an investment banker in London to creating toilets for rural women to now contesting the Lok Sabha election from Muzaffarpur in Bihar, Akshay Verma has done it all.
Despite his denim jeans and spotless white kurta, the 28-year-old comes across as a white-collar worker, but when he talks, it is much like a seasoned politician. “Sab ko aapne azma liya hai. Mujhe bhi ek mauka dein (You have seen many leaders, now give me a chance to serve you better),” he appeals voters at Thalwara, 40 km east of Muzaffarpur, which he reaches by 9.15 am.
Verma, who starts campaigning by 8 am, is a candidate of Sarvjan Kalyan Loktantrik Party (SKLP), which he founded to articulate the interests of Bihar’s rural poor, particularly fishermen. His slogan is ‘Shikshit Soch, Yuva Nazaria (Educated Mindset, Youthful Approach).
“Since January 2012, I have been working among fishermen, youth and women in rural interiors of north Bihar on issues of social concern.
Electoral office will take my work to the next level,” he says.
Driven by his “desire to serve the rural poor”, the Oxford and Columbia University-educated Verma is contesting the north Bihar seat that has been represented for five terms (till 2004) by veteran socialist leader George Fernandes.
But Verma is hopeful. “My experiences with the realities of rural living will stand me in good stead as a parliamentarian, should I win, as I hope to,” Verma explains to HT.
Son of a senior IAS officer, the SKLP founder has put up four other candidates in Bihar. In Muzaffarpur, he faces BJP’s Ajay Nishad, son of sitting MP Jainarain Nishad, Congress nominee and former Union minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh and JD (U)’s Vijendra Chaudhary, among others.
Verma is one of the 30 candidates whose fate will be decided when Muzaffarpur goes to polls on May 7.