Devesh K. Pandey

“General public is completely disenchanted by the false promises made by political parties”

“Money is a big factor in contesting elections”

“I try to solve the problems of those who come to me”

NEW DELHI: Believing that the general public is completely disenchanted by the “false promises” made by various political parties, several concerned citizens have jumped into the fray as Independent candidates, numbering 20, from the Chandni Chowk constituency hoping to change the system for good.

Among them is 35-year-old Nasrin Begum from Suleman Nagar, who is contesting elections for the first time. “I am a social worker and have been active for the past five years. I decided to contest after I realised that people had lost faith in the political leaders,” said the mother of five children. She said initially she was offered a ticket by a political party, but it backed out leaving her with no choice but to contest as an Independent.

“Money is a big factor in contesting elections, but several of my well-wishers have come forward to help me on that front. They hold public meetings to raise funds,” said a confident Ms. Nasrin.

The Independent candidate is raising the issue of price rise as she thinks it is one of the biggest problems confronting the common man. “The high cost of living has led to widespread corruption in the system. It is driving people to commit serious offences like robbery and murders,” said Ms. Nasrin, promising to work only for the country’s development if elected.

Tea-stall owner Balram Bari from Fatehpuri is another Independent candidate who has so far fought elections 15 times, including seven times for the Lok Sabha. “I got 140 votes in the last Assembly elections. I never ask anyone to vote for me, my well-wishers do that on their own. They know that I try to resolve the problems of those who come to me seeking help,” said the experienced candidate, adding that he was raising issues such as illegal migration of foreigners, the jobless educated youth, unemployment allowance and monetary assistance for the marriage of the children of widows.

Babu Lal Bairwa from Bhakurpur is a building contractor. He claims that his desire for social work drove him into politics. “I have contested the civic body elections once and Assembly elections twice. This is for the first time I have stood in the Lok Sabha elections,” said Mr. Bairwa. He is raising the issue of education and civic amenities. “The general public is now tired of the false promises made by politicians, who always toe the line of their parties. An Independent candidate speaks for the masses, as they are his masters,” added Mr. Bairwa.