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Washerman vs Delhi CM: Who will you vote for?

November 19, 2008 14:57 IST

He has been washing the clothes of MPs all his life. But now, he has entered the electoral fray against Delhi [Images] Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit saying that he wants to 'wash away' discrimination against the poor.

Thirty two-year-old Mohd Tahir is contesting from New Delhi constituency as a candidate of All India Minorities Front along with 24 other nominees.

"I am a dhobi. I wash clothes of lawmakers. Now let me try to wash away the discrimination against poor people," says Tahir, who stays in a servants quarters of MPs in North Avenue, just next to the Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images].

He argues that he has entered the electoral fray to become the voice of poor people who are ignored.

"Nobody listens to the voice of poor people," insists Tahir.

The fact that he is pitted against strong candidates like the chief minister and BJP's Vijay Jolly does not perturb him.

"I am contesting as a representative of the poor people. Winning or losing does not matter," says the young aspirant to politics.

He, however, is sure of getting at least 2,500 votes of his relatives and friends.

Interestingly, the newly-created New Delhi constituency also has nine women candidates contesting against the woman chief minister.

AIMF Chairman A M Asif says it is the 'beauty of Indian democracy' that anyone can fight an election.

"This is a message to other parties who are ignoring the plight of poor people in the country," he says.

The AIMF has fielded unusual candidates at some other constituencies as well.

Another unique candidate of the AIMF is Vijay Kumar, a rickshaw puller from Valmiki community who is contesting from Karol Bagh constituency.

A father of two, Kumar, however, alleges that he cannot campaign properly as police and administration were putting roadblocks on his way.

"They are harassing us. They are pressurising us. I don't know why," he says.

The party has fielded three women candidates -- Noor Jehan (Ballimaran), Nasreen Isaq Malik (Chandni Chowk) and Ruksana (Matia Mahal).

The party launched its campaign also in a different style -- with a 'mushaira' (soiree) in Paharganj area.

"It is a Hyderabadi style of politics. We can effectively campaign through 'mushaira'. We can make people understand issues through this way in a better manner," Asif said.

The AIMF is demanding release of those arrested or detained by police without proof, judicial inquiry into Batla House inquiry and employment opportunities for people in Walled City among others.

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