Meagre resources do not deter them nor are they cowed by money power and paraphernalia of opponents from political parties. As independents, they are in the race seeking to strike a chord with the electorate and sparing no efforts in their own way to impact the poll outcome in their favour.
For elections to the 15 Assembly and two parliamentary constituencies of Hyderabad district, a total of 107 independent candidates are in the fray coming from varied backdrops-- social workers to Law post-graduates, data entry operators to daily wagers and unemployed and even those retired from service.
From L.B.Nagar Assembly constituency, P.Sudhakar Reddy, a private employee has again joined the electoral battle as independent candidate. This data entry operator stood in the last elections too and polled 349 votes. But that did not deter him. “I am back, fighting the money power of party candidates with grit and determination,” he quips.
With no convoys to accompany and no funds to splurge on campaign, he moves around with a wooden stool and at selected places, climbs on it, holding a board printed with his agenda.
From Serilingampally Assembly constituency, 33-year-old Phani Kumar Juvva is in the fray and says the continued neglect of environmental degradation by politicians has put him in the electoral battle. A research scholar in environmental science with JNTU, he is working on introducing pollution control mechanism for vehicles and says, “There is so much pollution all around us and our rulers are oblivious of it. I want to start a debate on pollution and its harmful effects”.
D.Pavitra who has completed her Master’s in Law is contesting from Uppal and says she is fighting with an individual identity and individual approach.
“If I am a candidate from any mainstream political party, then my individuality gets overshadowed by their ideology and approach. I may not be able to spend money like them but I have honest intentions to serve the people that should help me win,” she says.
The 38-year-old decries the lack of development in the last six decades and argues it will be status quo for the next six decades if things do not change.
“Contemporary politics is imbalanced and there is a need for a different breed to correct it for the sake of country’s progress,” she avers.
A social worker, M.U.Annie Neelima from Malkajgiri has worked among the poor in slums and pained at their conditions.
“They have so many issues and problems but no one to hear them or act on their behalf. Politicians have converted elections into a business proposition, but I am contesting to make a change for the scores of children and women in slums whose living conditions are just abject,” she says.
Will she be heard in the din of the campaign unleashed by the political parties? “I believe committed voices are sure to be heard,” she adds. All independent candidates have their own agenda, and they may not win but they want to make an impact.