Delhi polls: Scooter loan, jobless spouse, namesakes

Loan on scooter, spouse with no income, namesakes: Candidates provide colour to Delhi polls

Representative image. (PTI Photo)

A 25-year-old student with a loan to be repaid on a scooter, a housewife with a spouse who earns "nothing" as income, a singer available for programmes, vegetable and fruit sellers, priests and signboard painter are among over 650 people vying for a seat in Delhi Assembly when it goes to polls next month.

Along with AAP, BJP, and Congress, there are numerous smaller parties, which are also trying their luck irrespective of the electoral prospects. The affidavits filed by candidates, including independents, in 70 Assembly seats give a sneak peek into their faith in fighting elections as well as their livelihood.

A close look at affidavits shows that it is not just the rivals who field namesakes to cut votes, this time even Arvind Kejriwal's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has namesakes. Aapki Apni Party-Peoples (Your Own Party-Peoples), Anjaan Aadmi Party (Unknown People's Party) and Aam Aadmi Sangarsh Party (Common Man Sangharsh Party) have fielded candidates in several seats.

One of the parties also gave a challenge to the BJP, which claims it has the highest number of enrolment in the world, by naming itself Sabse Badi Party (The Biggest Party). Another in honour of Tipu Sultan – the Tipu Sultan Party – also has fielded candidates in the polls.

For workers and tenants, there is Mazdoor Kiredayar Vikas Party while another claims to be the Satya Bahumat Party (Truthful Majority Party). Right to Recall, a party that fights for the provision to recall lawmakers, has also fielded candidates.

New Delhi seat where Kejriwal seeks re-election, has one of the highest number of candidates at 28, where 11 independent candidates have decided to take on the Chief Minister. If Kejriwal is IIT-alumni, a couple of opponents are Ph.D. holders.

Abhipsa Chauhan, the CPI candidate from Bawana, has jumped into the electoral battle from classrooms. Pursuing her MSc from Jamia Hamdard, she has declared assets worth Rs 1.38 lakh and has to repay Rs 27,500 she took for buying a scooter, which is still pending.

In Rohini where Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta contests, a 60-year-old independent candidate has declared that her spouse has “nothing” as income.

Any election is known for namesakes and Tilak Nagar has three namesakes out of eight candidates. AAP's sitting MLA Jarnail Singh is facing two namesakes – one from Aapki Apni Party-Peoples' and independent, while BJP candidate Rajiv Babbar too has one.

If Samajwadi Party is not contesting the Delhi polls, a namesake of its patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav is contesting. Mulayam Singh of Akhil Bharatiya Jan Shakti Party is fighting from Badli.

Amid snide remarks from right-wingers that Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has turned an “old age home” of middle-aged students, at least one candidate in Badarpur, 67-year-old Om Prakash Gupta, has shown that anyone can study at any age. He cleared his Bachelor of Engineering at the age of 42 years and LLB at the age of 45 years.

Not to leave behind, religious figures are also in the contest – two priests are contesting from Mustafabad and Ghonda while a pastor is fighting from Sadar Bazar. A candidate in Ghonda has declared his profession as a singer who depends on invites for programmes where he sings devotional songs.

Several Ph.D. holders, chartered accountants, and lawyers too are in the contest. Saurabh Gupta (30), who is fighting on Janhit Kisan Party ticket, holds a post-graduate degree in water and environment management from the University of Bristol.

Shiv Sena, a Congress ally in Maharashtra, too has filed some candidates in the polls, including a Muslim, while BJP ally Ramdas Athawale's RPI(A) too has candidates, including in New Delhi.