Kishan Lal (57), an ayurvedic doctor, visits his clinic every morning in Hundalkheda to examine patients after which he leaves for nearby localities with a bagful of ‘rakhis’.
Adopting a unique way to garner support for election, Lal – an independent candidate from Shahjahanpur assembly seat – visits door to door urging women to tie ‘rakhi’ on his hand.
Unhesitatingly, women tie ‘rakhi’ and put a ‘tilak’ on his forehead. After this, Lal tells them that they are his ‘rakhi’ sister and their husbands his ‘jijaji’ (brother-in-law).
After establishing a ‘rakhi’ bond with women, Lal asks them to press the button next to his election symbol, air-conditioner.
Popularly known as ‘vaidyaraj’, Lal says, “My mission is to make one lakh rakhi sisters during election campaign. I am aware of the strength of the sacred thread. My ‘rakhi’ sisters will definitely support me and also ask their husbands and children to vote for me. I will easily defeat my rivals if one lakh ‘rakhis’ convert into vote.”
Cutting across caste and religion, Lal is striving hard to win the support of women.
More than 50,000 women from all section of the society have tied ‘rakhi’ on him. On Thursday, the Muslim community organised a special ‘rakhi’ programme in which 3,000 women tied ‘rakhi’.
Lal campaigns in the lanes of Shahjahanpur on his old scooter. “I purchased this second-hand scooter two decades back and converted it into my ‘campaign rath’. It gives me a vintage feeling and helps me connect with all the classes,” he said.
He has contested local body election in the past. “Though I lost the election, I did not lose hope of changing the political discourse. I support clean politics free of muscle and money power. I tell people that after winning election, MLAs do not care for voters but remain busy in making money. It is time for change. People should elect a common man who loves to move on foot, cares for the poor and resides in a shanty,” he says.
Lal is pitted against veterans Suresh Kumar Khanna of BJP who has represented the seat for seven consecutive terms in the legislative assembly. SP has fielded Tanvir Khan while BSP has given ticket to Mohammad Aslam Khan. “My rivals have resources to fight election but I am depending on the support and contribution of the people,” he said.
On the request of migrant labourers, he has also opened a clinic in Chandni Chowk area of Delhi. “Every month I visit Delhi for a week and examine patients from Shahjahanpur and neigbouring districts. I only charge for medicine”.
The families of migrant labourers have also joined Lal’s election campaign.