Thirty-nine-year-old Ramdayal Mehato is a jack of all trades. From being a construction worker,an egg-seller,a tea vendor,a cook for a team of folk artistes,to running his own flour mill,the BJP candidate has tried his hand at an array of professions,and is now all set to be a councillor from Pratap Vihar in North Delhi.
Mehato,who was once struggling to make ends meet,is now campaigning for the municipal elections. I left my village in Bihar with a team of folk artistes at the age of eleven to earn big in a new city. I had a dream to be popular. Now,when I go to every household,people congratulate me for bagging a poll ticket. Although I am yet to win from my ward,when people say they will vote for me,it gives me a sense of achievement, he says.
Mehato,who has only studied up to Class 8,says,I want to rewrite history by showing the world that a poor candidate without a politician father can also win.
Other candidates have put up banners with their picture. They roam in their cars to ask for votes. But I have no means to do that. Often people dont recognise me because I have not put up posters. But that does not affect me. I am going door-to-door,showing my face to the voters, he says.
Mehato is not the only seemingly unusual candidate. BJP has also fielded an auto driver from an adjacent ward. My life has got a new meaning since the day I was selected by the party, says Gopal Singh,who is contesting from Prem Nagar.
Too busy campaigning,he says he now has no time to work at his utensils shop,which is being run by his son. My priorities have changed. My son is handling the work at the shop. I want to work for the people and the society now. My goal is to build a strong educational system in my ward, he says.
Another candidate,Vinod Kumar,who was a fruit seller in Jahangirpuri,is now contesting from there. People have a perception that councillors get elected only to hoard money. I want to break this stereotype by serving the people of my ward. As a fruit seller,I know the problems faced by people here and I will eradicate them, he says.
East Delhi is no different. Sushil Upadhyay,a newspaper seller has been nominated by BJP from Shakarpur,while Sunil Jha,who used to put up a stall at weekly flea market,is the partys candidate from New Seemapuri.