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Lok Sabha elections 2019: From a snack vendor to aircraft engineer: 7 independents in fray from Gurugram

Seven out of the final set of 24 contesting candidates, from the Gurgaon parliamentary seat, which goes to polls on May 12, are running as independents. These include a 48-year-old food vendor, who has been running a stall at Jharsa Road since the past twelve years.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 01, 2019 04:03 IST
Sadia Akhtar
Sadia Akhtar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
aircraft engineer,gurugram,lok sabha
Kusheshwar Bhagat, a pav bhaji seller who is fighting the election as independent, in Gurugram on Tuesday.(Yogendra Kumar/HT Photo)

People from diverse backgrounds have decided to test waters this election season by contesting as independent candidates. From a snack vendor to an aircraft engineer, independent candidates are using the elections as an opportunity to put forth their idea of governance, apart from the usual heavyweights fielded by major political parties.

Seven out of the final set of 24 contesting candidates, from the Gurgaon parliamentary seat, which goes to polls on May 12, are running as independents. These include a 48-year-old food vendor, who has been running a stall at Jharsa Road since the past twelve years. A native of Madhubani district in Bihar, Kusheshwar Bhagat came to the city in 1997 looking for a job. He set up a pav bhaji stall and has been in the business since then.

A resident of Aya Nagar in Delhi, he travels to Gurugram daily for work. The city, he says, was his “karambhoomi” (workplace) and that he is contesting elections to make a positive difference to it. Bhagat is not new to electoral contests. He has previously contested in four polls – two Lok Sabha and two Vidhan Sabha elections. Though he could not save his deposits, past defeats have not bogged him down.

“I am connected to the roots and hence can empathise with the struggles of common people like me. People like me seek to make a difference but will never be given a ticket by mainstream political parties. This necessitates that we start raising our voice,” Bhagat says.

He adds that despite his past defeats, he is committed towards making a change in Gurugram, and would continue to contest till that is achieved. “I will keep trying even if I have to make 25 attempts. One day, my efforts will yield results,” he said. He says he will be focusing on affordable health care and quality education during his campaign.

Other independent candidates are also keeping a focus on basic civic and infrastructure amenities. Anjan Kumar Deveshwar, 41, has prefixed the word ‘chowkidar’ before his name for the elections. A self-confessed Modi supporter, he says he is contesting elections to offer an alternative to the people. “I support the Prime Minister but the city needs a leader from the grassroots. After winning, I’ll extend support to Modi ji only. Hence, people should simply vote for me if they want him to win,” reads Deveshwar’s manifesto.

A resident of Sector 109, Deveshwar works as an aircraft engineer. He claims that he has a license to fly in the USA and Europe. “Political parties only exploit the name of chowkidars for campaigning. Security guards in my neighbourhood do not receive their salaries for three-four months. No one does anything to improve their lives. I want to change that,” he added. He said that pollution would be an important poll plank for him since most political parties had kept the issue on the back-burner.

Sudesh Kumar, another candidate, says he is contesting to save the Constitution of the country. “There have been attempts to alter the Constitution in the past five years. I come from the marginalized Dhanuk community and it is my duty to save the Constitution drafted by Babasaheb (BR Ambedkar),” Kumar, a resident of Maujmabad village in Pataudi, says. He says he would impose his manifesto on the people and instead work on public grievance.

Pawan Kumar, 34, is another independent candidate from village Bhudka in Sidhrawali. Previously a teacher, he now works as an FMCG distributor. Among other independents in the fray are Rao Inderjeet and Azad Singh Nangalia.

First Published: May 01, 2019 04:03 IST

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