K Padmarajan loves to lose, especially against political heavyweights. But this time he has beaten Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to filing his nomination for one of the two Rajya Sabha seats from Assam falling vacant on June 14.
Exactly 24 hours before the Prime Minister was scheduled to file his nomination papers, Padmarajan, 48, filed his, before Assam Assembly secretary G.P. Das. He shelled out Rs 5,000 as security deposit, but could not fulfill the other requirement for an RS nomination — the signature of support from at least 10 MLAs. His papers are likely to be rejected prior to the election slated for May 24.
“I have already spent Rs 7 lakh contesting 81 elections before. Today’s expenditure makes no difference,” said Padmarajan, who runs a tyre retreading unit at Mettur in Tamil Nadu’s Salem district.
He added that challenging VVIPs was a passion for him, and hoped contesting his 82nd election against the Prime Minister would help him find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Having contested against President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, his predecessor K.R. Narayanan, former prime ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao and Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, Padmarajan found place in the Limca Book of Records in 2003 for losing 57 elections in various categories.
While the maverick Padmarajan made up his mind “in a few seconds” to fly into the city and contest the Rajya Sabha poll, the Opposition parties — the Asom Gana Parishad, BJP, Asom United Democratic Front and the Left parties — are yet to decide on a consensus candidate for the second seat.
A candidate for each of the two seats needs 43 votes — a little more than one-third of the total strength of the House-in the 126-member Assam Assembly.