Eighty-seven-year-old Maulana Wajid Ali Khan, the oldest contestant in Rajasthan, has once again thrown his gauntlet at other candidates much younger to him. Khan has made a record of sorts. Since 1970, he has been standing in elections but never managed to save his security deposits leave alone winning a seat.
Nonetheless he is hopeful that he would win an election one-day.
He has once again filed nomination for the Lok Sabha election from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur constituency and hopes to take a tough fight to cricketer-turned politician and Congress candidate Mohammad Azharuddin.
Panchayats, blocks, assembly - this hakim (a Muslim physician) from Tonk is not particular about the office. Ask him about the number of nominations he has filed, and he is at a loss. After all, it has been 44 years since he started.
Once Khan, a resident of Paanch Bati area of Tonk town, wanted to contest against former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, but dropped the idea after his family balked and refused to accompany him for filing the nomination.
But he brightens up on mentioning that he got to contest against former chief minister Bhairon Singh Shekhawat from Chhabra constituency and the late ex-royal family member Gayatri Devi from Tonk.
Khan was rueful when he failed to file nomination for the 2013 assembly elections. By the time he filled up the papers on November 12, the last day, office hours were over and it could not be submitted. “I have contested many elections, including local body and assembly elections. I love to file nominations and contest irrespective of the result. I will keep contesting till my last breath,” Khan, who has declared `10,000 cash and land worth `45 lakh in his nomination papers, said.
Khan said he thought of contesting the first time when he saw local candidates conducting door-to-door campaigns.