After serving in the Indian Army and the National Security Guard (NSG), former Black Cat commando Mukesh Singh is now contesting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections as an Independent candidate from Malad. Singh, 35, said this was another to serve the country once again.
He was in the army for 12-and-a-half years and then served in the NSG for another three years, during which he participated in numerous operations in Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, etc. Singh, who joined the army at 19, said he wants to get into the system to bring positive changes.
Singh attributed his decision to contest polls to his postgraduation (PG) programme. “During my PG in urban development, we had to conduct surveys related to the issues that affect the city. Those surveys made me realise that there is a lot that is missing in my city. So to bring a change, one needs power and this is my attempt at bringing a change,” Singh said while campaigning in Chincholi area at Malad. Apart from the PG diploma, Singh has an MBA degree in marketing.
Before deciding to contest as an Independent, Singh had sought a ticket from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as he was inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called himself the army’s ‘senapati’ (commander). “I wrote to the PM, BJP President Amit Shah, state president Raosaheb Danve and city chief Ashish Shelar, but there was no response. I did not want to give up, so now I’m contesting as an Independent,” he said.
Singh is pitted against heavyweights such as BJP minister Vidya Thakur’s son Deepak and Congress’ sitting corporator Sneha Zagade. Though he admitted that being an Independent can be a disadvantage as there is no backing of any party, but Singh said this hasn’t discouraged him nor has been intimidated by the list of other contenders.
He said, “I am a fauji (soldier). During my interaction with people, I’m asking them to choose between a neta (politician/leader) and a sevak (servant) as I have served my country. I hope they will give me a chance to serve them as well.”