In a rare feat, a successful young Indian educationist in Australia has made his way into the Rajasthan Assembly with the dream to bring about a change at his native place, which he had left in 2005 to pursue higher studies. Defying the image of typical politicians, he led a successful election campaign in the rural heartland in the run-up to the December 7 State Assembly polls.
Wajib Ali, 36, has been elected an MLA on the Bahujan Samaj Party's ticket from Bharatpur’s Nagar constituency. He has a thriving real estate business in Australia and he runs eight colleges and a school, along with his two brothers, in the cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Born in a Meo Muslim family of Nagar block’s Sikri village, Mr. Ali went to Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia for education and later migrated to Australia. He came back to his native village in 2013, when he contested the Assembly election as a National People’s Party candidate and lost to BJP’s sitting MLA Anita Singh.
Since 2013, Mr. Ali has been active in the region, extending support to people's struggles and raising their issues with the government authorities. He joined BSP three years ago to earn an identity for himself and get “political weightage” for his work among the people, especially the Meos who were marginalised in the society.
Making a difference
Mr. Ali told The Hindu on Tuesday that he had come back to India with the desire to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the social conditions in eastern Rajasthan’s Meo-dominated region. “This is the State’s most backward area. Basic facilities are lacking here. Besides, Meos are treated with suspicion,” he said.
In his election campaign, Mr. Ali succeeded in convincing the voters about his honest intentions. “People from all castes voted for me in Nagar constituency, where Muslims comprise 20% of population. The voters were convinced that I had sacrificed my comforts in Australia to do something for them.”
“Moreover, I have defeated the idea of communalism and hate campaign, which is used for climbing up ladder in politics. Common people have reposed faith in me,” Mr. Ali said.
In the election results declared on December 11, BJP’s Ms. Singh was relegated to the third position, while Samajwadi Party’s Nem Singh was the runner-up. Having secured 62,644 votes, Mr. Ali won with a margin of 25,467 votes.
Focus on education
Mr. Ali intends to focus on education and health in his constituency in order to raise the standard of living of villagers. “I will work for improving the quality of government education system. Private education is not a solution, even if I open schools and colleges in Nagar... it cannot serve the numbers. Only a robust government education set-up can benefit everyone.”
He said he would also pay attention to the law and order situation and corruption in government offices.