She gives up broom to make clean sweep

She has been sweeping the roads around her colony for nearly five years,but now Prakash Wati has a shot at doing a job that could have a more lasting impact.

Written by Priyanka Sharma | New Delhi | Published: March 30, 2012 12:17 am

She has been sweeping the roads around her colony for nearly five years,but now Prakash Wati has a shot at doing a job that could have a more lasting impact.

As a safai karamchari in the MCD,Prakash has been cleaning the roads in Sultanpur East in Northwest Delhi since 2007,often loathing the poor sanitation standards in the area.

She now has a chance to change all that. Prakash is contesting next month’s municipal elections from the Sultanpur East ward as a Congress candidate,and she says she wants to fix the root cause of civic neglect.

“Whenever I clean the roads and collect garbage,I see filth from choked drains spilling over,with slum dwellers living close by. If I win,I will make sure people get clean and hygienic living conditions,” she says.

Wearing a white salwar kurta with a dupatta pulled over her head,Prakash says she is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead,but she is nervous.

“My hands were shivering when I went to file my nomination,as I am contesting the elections for the first time and have no experience. But now the feeling has sunk in,and I am confident that I will win,” Vati says.

Prakash lives in a resettlement colony in Sultanpur East with her husband,Bal Raj,a clerk at the DDA,three children and her in-laws.

Prakash owns movable assets worth Rs 5.48 lakh,and immovable property worth Rs 10 lakh. Her husband has movable assets worth Rs 7.60 lakh and owns property worth Rs 26 lakh.

Prakash is contesting from a ward reserved for Schedule Caste women. She credits her father-in-law Kude Ram Pradhan,a Congress worker since 1965,for her political foray.

Pradhan,in turn,thanks his area legislator for the opportunity. “Our MLA,Jai Kishan,has acknowledged my association with the party. We share a similar family background. He has complete faith in my daughter-in-law,” he says.

Prakash couldn’t pass Class X and had to quit studies,a failure she says fuels her desire to improve educational facilities in her area,where only three of the six municipal schools have a concrete building.

“The school buildings are in a shoddy state. Forget the building,there are no teachers. There are no playgrounds for children in our area. What future will the children have,” she says.

Prakash says she used to wake up at 5 am when she worked as a daily wager safai karamchari with the MCD,a job she has now quit so she can contest the election.

Her day now begins at 4 am. “People come to my house and tell me they support me. After talking to them I know what the common man expects from a councillor. I want to fulfill every expectation,” she says.

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