Amritsar: Living in penury and hardly being
able to make two ends meet has not prevented a 60 year-old
rickshaw puller from jumping into the poll fray.
Mahinder Singh is contesting the January 30 Punjab
Assembly polls from Amritsar (East) as an Independent.
Following his daily routine, he gets up early in the
morning and quickly goes around looking to pick up the
'sawaaris' (passengers) so that he has some money at the end
of the day to feed his family.
For most part of the day, Singh, father of four children,
takes his tastefully decorated rickshaw to seek votes in the
constituency, from where the main contestants include BJP's Dr
Navjot Kaur, wife of Amritsar MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu.
When asked what prompted him to contest, Singh wearing a
dejected look, told PTI, "I am fed up with this system. With
so much time having passed since the country gained
Independence, lives of poor people like me remain unchanged.
If I don't earn for a day, my family will starve. I want to
change this system".
"Look where the prices have touched, what will a poor man
do," Singh, who lives in Maqbulpura area here and has two sons
and two daughters, besides his wife whom he has to take care
Son of a labourer, Singh was born in Barkia Karea village
near Lahore, Pakistan, and migrated to India along with his
family after the country's partition.
It is not just Singh who wants to change the system, a
young candidate, a staunch believer in the ideals of Mahatma
Gandhi, is also testing his electoral luck from Amritsar