Welder, former MNC employee, stock trader join Delhi political race as Independents | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Welder, former MNC employee, stock trader join Delhi political race as Independents

PTI |
May 23, 2024 04:54 PM IST

Welder, former MNC employee, stock trader join Delhi political race as Independents

New Delhi, No garlands, no loudspeakers, no slogans and no frenzied crowds. Yet, a band of Independents, most with no funds and far from the electoral spotlight, are in the fray in Delhi, their trade varied and their motivations different, except for the fact they want to see their name on the ballot sheet.

Welder, former MNC employee, stock trader join Delhi political race as Independents
Welder, former MNC employee, stock trader join Delhi political race as Independents

The eclectic list of 49 contesting as Independents across Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha constituencies includes a welder, a mechanic, a former corporate, a social worker and a stock trader. They are clearly not there for victory or for money but it doesn’t matter.

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"Contesting the Lok Sabha election is a big thing. For someone like me who barely earns 20,000 a month deciding to fight elections might make me the butt of everyone's jokes. But god knows my intention is right and I only want to serve the people,” said Hari Kishan, a home appliances mechanic by profession contesting from North West Delhi.

The 47-year-old has little to boast about in his CV as he fights heavyweights Yogendra Chandolia from the BJP and Congress' Udit Raj.

"I am getting a really good response, which makes me hopeful for a favourable result on June 4," the Rithala resident told PTI.

His aim is modest.

Kishan is hoping to make a dent, at least amongst those whose broken refrigerators and washing machines he has fixed over the past two decades. Maybe they will choose him over candidates who have broken their promises election after election.

With no loudspeakers blaring their name and no media channel vying for their interview, most of these Independents – those not aligned with any recognised party won't fit the image of a archetypal politician fighting for attention in the festival of democracy that is an Indian election.

With Kishan in the master list of 162 candidates fighting in Delhi, which votes on May 25 in the sixth round of the seven-phase election, is Subash Chander.

The 67-year-old is an old hand in the stock market and is betting on his chances in the prized Chandni Chowk seat against BJP's Praveen Khandelwal and Congress’ former MP Jai Prakash Aggarwal.

He lives in Sirsa, Haryana, but doesn’t mind commuting every alternate day for door-to-door campaigning. The cash-strapped candidate spends the night in different gurudwaras to save money.

His push factor to contest not a single MP is raising people-centric issues in Parliament.

"PM Modi did the right work in his first regime. Now, he also, like others, is busy doling out freebies and hiding from real issues. Delhi has become a gas chamber and no one is doing anything about it.

"Farmers are protesting, the youth of the country is unemployed... I can't tolerate this anymore and decided to take the matter in my own hands," said Chander. He contested in 1996 too – then for the Haryana assembly from Sirsa and won 5,000 votes.

Achla Jethmalani, an economics major and a postgraduate in human resource development management, was propelled into joining the fray because of the unemployment issue.

The former corporate employee is fighting against BJP's Bansuri Swaraj and A's Somnath Bharti for the high profile New Delhi seat.

The 57-year-old, who is using savings from her corporate career to fund her political debut, said the pressing issue of jobs could lead to “social delinquency” without remedial measures.

"I feel someone who is conscientious and who is professionally qualified can deliver justice. And it was high time that they took the plunge in politics. So it is due to that sense of obligation towards society that I decided to contest the elections this time," said Jethmalani.

However, Jethmalani is also pragmatic and admits her limitations as a candidate without deep pockets or political clout.

According to recent data compiled by the Election Commission of India , voters' trust in Independent candidates has been diminishing, with over "99 per cent" of them losing their deposits since 1991.

"I don't have the resources or the money to throw around... It is very difficult for the underprivileged to trade in long term goals for the short term. If a party satisfies them monetarily, they'll be swayed by that party and vote there. That way I know I am at a disadvantage," she said, adding that she is in for the long haul.

Also, making his tryst with politics in the 18th general elections is Naveen Kumar, a welder with no qualifications. His focus is strengthening the education system.

Kumar, a resident of Dwarka, is fighting from South Delhi constituency against BJP's Ramvir Singh Bidhuri and A's Sahi Ram Pehelwan.

"I want to focus on cleanliness and education. Our education system is in shambles. I see children living in my area, they go to school, but they are really not getting the education they deserve. Many of them are dropping out from schools due to this," explained the 36-year-old.

He has a team of 12 and has been campaigning door to door. Kumar said he has spent close to 1 lakh in publicity material, logistics, food and other maintenance expenses of his team members.

"Much of what I have spent is from my own pocket. The rest was given to me by my friends and family members. I am fighting the elections to win, why would I think about loss? Mark my words, I'll get close to six lakh votes," said Kumar, who makes 25,000 per month from his welding business.

Social worker Anju Sharma, who is contesting from West Delhi, has a completely different agenda.

The former Congress worker, who left the party following its "unholy alliance" with the A, said she is living her dream.

With the financial backing from her businessman husband and moral support from her children, the 53-year-old from Tilak Nagar promises to fulfil the aspirations of people from the constituency.

"I didn't get the support from a political party but I have support from the people of my constituency. They know me. I have been working for their betterment for the past many years.

"Now, if I get elected, I'll only get to serve them better with more resources at my disposal," said Sharma, whose social media account is filled with videos of her addressing rallies and events canvassing for votes.

The debutant aims to overtake BJP's Kamaljeet Sehrawat and A's Mahabal Mishra in the poll race.

An Independent needs at least 10 candidates from the same constituency to sign nomination papers.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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