On May 23, a video of Neetu Shutteranwala, an Independent from the reserved Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, breaking down while speaking to a local TV news channel as counting began, had gone viral on social media. Shutteranwala, who makes shutters for a living, and earns Rs 400-500 for a day’s work, was heartbroken over receiving just five votes till then, despite having 9 voters in his family alone.
Why did you contest the polls?
I was Chaudhary’s fan (Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Jalandhar Lok Sabha MP who won the seat this time as well). Once I tried to get a selfie with him, but his personal assistant pushed me out. That is when I decided to fight against him.
How many votes did you get?
I got 856 votes. However, in the early hours of counting I just got five votes. It came as a surprise because there are nine members in my immediate family alone — I, my wife, mother, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, two sisters and a brother-in-law — who voted at the same polling station. When I saw the numbers, I broke into tears. My family members swore on Mata Chintpurni that they had voted for me. Then I realised that the EVM machine had deceived me. Four of my votes were stolen. They have either gone to Narendra Modi or the Congress party.
Did you expect to win?
Yes. I should have won by a good margin. Both the Congress and Akali Dal tried their best to stop me. If my four votes were stolen, what about the others?
Will you contest again?
No. I will return to my work. I have to look after my family and four children. I spent Rs 50,000 on the elections, which I borrowed at 5 per cent interest. I have to return that too. The common man has no future in politics. Both the Congress and BJP are very bad. I do not want to waste my time.
Did you see your video?
Yes, it feels great. I am more popular than Chaudhary. I have been getting calls from from all over the state. All TV channels have interviewed me. My clips are on YouTube and TikTok, all over the world. Everyone knows who Neetu Shutteranwala is.
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