At 93, JD-U leader vies to beat Paswan

At 93, JD-U leader vies to beat Paswan

Ram Sundar Das, who at 93 is the oldest parliamentarian in the country, is also probably the oldest candidate in this Lok Sabha election.

As he campaigns for hours in the scorching sun in his constituency despite his age and failing health, he says his belief in Shirdi Sai Baba will make him win against political heavyweight, Ram Vilas Paswan and give him another chance to be a ‘das’ (servant) of the people.

“I simply trust people and Sai Baba to win the election again. I am a sevak (servant) of the people,” Das, known for his strict vegetarianism and spiritualism said.
Seeking re-election.

The Janata Dal-United candidate and outgoing Lok Sabha member from Hajipur constituency, who is seeking re-election, is confident of defeating Lok Janshakti Party chief Paswan. Hajipur will vote on May 7.

“I am a sevak of the people. As my name – Das – suggests, I have to serve. It is the people who are ‘malik’ (master),” he said.

Paswan recently claimed he would break his own Guinness World Record for winning a parliamentary election with the highest margin.

Paswan’s LJP joined hands with the BJP in February and is contesting seven of Bihar’s 40 Lok Sabha seats.

Das, a former state chief minister, has an image of being an honest politician.
“I have neither money power nor muscle power but my manpower will eclipse both power of my rivals,” Das said.

As per his election affidavit, he has assets worth Rs 30,48,748. Das said his strength lies in Shirdi Sai Baba, carries a picture of him.

“Even at this age, Sai Baba makes me walk and talk with people, provides opportunity to serve them. I am today what Sai Baba has made me,” Das said.

Probably contesting his last election, Das is still careful of his clean dress – a cotton white kurta pyjama with a cap.

Das also wears on his fingers various rings gifted by people.

“All these help me serve the people with good health and positive thoughts,” the JD-U leader stated.

It was this never-say die attitude that helped Das defeat Paswan in 2009 when he was at the ripe old age of 88. At 93, he now hopes that he would repeat the feat.

Das was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1991 at the age of 70.

JD-U leaders close to him said that Das has twice

undergone angioplasty and has been dependent on insulin for the past four years.

Though there has been resentment among some voters as Das was seldom seen in the constituency, party leaders said he was the premier lawmaker in terms of utilising funds for development.