Called 'bewakoof' by wife, this legislator wants to help people

Called 'bewakoof' by wife, this legislator wants to help people

Fifty-year-old Girish Soni was called a “bewakoof” (fool) by his wife and daughter when he revealed his desire to contest the Delhi Assembly polls. 

Such discouraging words failed to stop him from giving it a shot, as Soni drew inspiration from the book – Bhago Nahi Duniya Ko Badlo (Don’t run away, change the world).

“You must read it. It has had a great impact on me. It may help you too,” Soni, the leather goods merchant turned AAP MLA who is likely to be inducted in Delhi cabinet, tells Deccan Herald. Coming from a humble family, Soni aspired to stand on his own two feet while his father toiled at a leather goods shop. He started working as an electrician while pursuing a diploma in refrigeration and air conditioning at ITI on Pusa Road in 1980.

The Rs 15-20 per day income was handsome for a teenager nearly 33 years ago. “It was ok money for me. I spent it on books and stationary,” Soni, father of two daughters and a son, says. Back then, he would take a bus ride from Madipur to Pusa and would walk up to a kilometre and a half to his institute, humming Saahir Ludhiyanvi’s songs all the way. “I like listening to Ludhiyanvi’s songs. My favourites are from Bollywood movies Kaagaz Ke Phool and Pyaasa,” he says.

But the song that inspired him the most is Woh Subah Kabhi To Aayegi (That morning will come someday). “I kept listening to the song in times of trouble. It makes me feel that everything will be fine one day,” adds Soni, who has three siblings. It not only made him hope, but also built the courage to enter politics. 

Keen to be of help to people, Soni never imagined he would be a minister one day. “I was never overly ambitious and wished for a simple life,” he says. “I see this as an opportunity to help people in a bigger way,” he says.e never aimed big as he thought the system would place obstacles on the way, which has made the idea of becoming a minister all the more incredible.
 As someone with an Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 monthly income, Soni often thought he was too far away from the corridors of power.  Yet, far from feeling happy, his family has disapproved his foray into politics. “They don’t understand politics. It’s not their fault. Almost everybody thinks politics is a dirty business. But we are here to change the face of politics,” he adds. “My wife and even my eldest daughter called me idiot for doing so,” he says. 

Soni has made his 18-year-old daughter join Arvind Gaur’s street play group.

“Gaur’s nukkad natak are based on anti-corruption themes. I did it so that she also becomes an honest citizen and always be free from the clutches of corruption,” says Soni, who has a 12-year-old son.

“My son is too young. He is in class 7. He doesn’t understand anything. He only wants to have burger and pizza.

A simple man who loves his home-made roti and dal, Soni says nothing has changed since the change of his position from common man to cabinet minister. “The only thing that has changed is that my leather manufacturing unit is not running properly. It has been 25 per cent operational since we started preparing for the Assembly polls in November,” he reveals.  He likes travelling to hill stations. “Mussoorie and Shimla are my favourite spots. I drove my Santro car to Kullu Manali with my family in 2009. Since then I never got a chance,” Soni says. As a young man, Soni’s political affiliations leaned more towards Left as he joined Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), which was active in the 90s. “I used to roam around the streets and spread awareness among the public,” he adds.He does not care about his cabinet position, believing instead that the spirit of AAP should go on. “Chahe sarkar bane na bane, yeh movement aise hi chalta rahe. (Whether AAP forms the government or not, this movement must go on).”

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