What have morning walk got to do with electoral politics? Well, ask sexagenarian Harbans Kapoor, a veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader and the sitting legislator from Dehradun, who has perfected that early morning regimen to a fine art of wooing voters and with a great success.
Its not a routine MLA Kapoor (also the speaker of the state legislative assembly) is reminded of only when elections are at hand. Instead, he punctiliously follows the routine round the year.
He says it's the secret behind his being a six-time MLA in a row from the Dehradun assembly constituency. And it's a record no neta in Uttarakhand could manage to beat so far. "As day breaks each day I am on the streets, walking," says Kapoor.
"That's the time when most people of my constituency are also on the streets enjoying their morning walk and are relaxed, which helps me maintain a personal touch with them," he says.
No wonder, they have been electing Kapoor regularly since 1989 (the only time he lost an election from there was in 1984 -His sole defeat in assembly elections. So does he walk across the constituency on foot? Instead, Kapoor starts his morning mission on a scooter. "It (scooter) takes me to different colonies where I take a stroll and interact with as many people as possible," he says explaining: "That enhanced mobility helps me reach out to more and more people giving me a fair idea of their problems, which I try and resolve at the earliest," he insists.
"Besides, when people see me travelling on a scooter they shed their inhibitions and are more forthcoming in sharing their problems," he says.
No wonder, some complaints from his constituency notwithstanding, Kapoor has been able to create an image for himself - one of a politician who is development oriented and cares for the people. Kanchan Thakur of Rajendra Nagar colony dubs him as Vikas Purush, (somebody who keeps pushing for development).
The MLA is sure to get her vote, as he had been instrumental in getting a 60-feet wide road in her locality. Dr Sanjiv Kumar, a resident of slum colony Srirampuram, vividly recalls that morning when he saw the area MLA standing near a leaking public tap and scolding the locals for not having registered a complaint with the water works department. "He himself lodged a complaint and the tap was repaired the next day," recalls Kumar.
The secret behind Kapoor's success is wife Sarita. "She is a better half in true sense," he says while dubbing her as a fast-paced campaigner. "She does a real leg up to my campaign when elections are at hand. She covers every single colony and meets each family thrice," he says.