As Delhi decks up for Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony on Monday, a 15-year-old tea seller is hoping to get an invitation to the coveted event that will see the participation of several heads of states and the country’s who’s who.
Ritesh, who works as a roadside tea stall helper in one of city’s largest and busiest markets, Lajpat Nagar, has written to Mr. Modi requesting for an invitation to participate in what he calls “an opportunity of a lifetime”.
“I am inspired by the story of Mr. Modi and his rise from a small tea-seller to becoming the Prime Minister of the country. I would love to be part of history and attend the oath taking ceremony,” said Ritesh.
“The oath taking is the ‘Raj Tilak’ ceremony of Mr. Modi. We (the street children) have been following the elections and are excited about the fact that there is hope for us. Mr. Modi was a tea-seller and today with his determination and good luck he is the leader of the nation. His success story has opened for us a world of possibilities,” said a visibly excited Ritesh.
Ritesh has posted letters to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters and Gujarat Bhawan. Stating that given an opportunity he will talk about the problems of street and working children and those part of Badhte Kadam, a unit of non-government organisation Childhood Enhancement through Training and Action (CHETNA), of which he is also a part.
“Our Prime Minister should have a first hand account of the problems and working conditions of the children,” he said.
Ritesh used to go to school in Samastipur, Bihar, before his family migrated to Delhi in search of livelihood. “Mr. Modi’s story has taught me that nothing is impossible,” said Ritesh.
CHETNA director Sanjay Gupta said: “Children have high hopes from the new government, especially children living in difficult circumstances. We are very hopeful that Ritesh will get a chance to participate in the swearing-in ceremony.”