If a tea-seller can become a chief minister and later the Prime Minister of India, why can’t another one dream of becoming the President? Anand Singh Kushwaha, a ‘chaiwallah’ and a veteran of 20 electoral defeats, has filed his papers for the presidential polls for the fourth time.
According to a Times of India report, the 49-year-old lives in Gwalior district of Madhya Pradesh. Anand Singh Kushwaha remembers every election he has fought since 1994, including for the post of vice-president.
“I am in touch with MPs and MLAs of Uttar Pradesh. I couldn’t get enough votes in the past, however, this time I have been assured that I’ll get support,” Kushwaha reportedly said, according to the TOI report.
Support of 50 eligible voters and 50 backers is a minimum for contesting for the head of state.
Interestingly, Kushwaha manages to fund his elections by saving a small amount every day, with which he deposits the security money. In 2013 MP Assembly elections, he managed to get only 376 votes.
“I want to make it to the list of successful candidates at least once,” he said. Since he cannot afford a vehicle, Kushwaha rides a bicycle for campaigning. In Kushwaha’s absence, his wife runs the tea stall.
According to his affidavit for the 2014 LS elections, he had Rs 5,000 in cash and immovable assets worth Rs 10,000.
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Meanwhile, Union Minister Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu reportedly met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury to discuss a possible consensus candidate. Both, Singh and Naidu, earlier in the week, held a meeting with Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) Praful Patel and Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Satish Mishra.
Singh, along with Naidu and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, are part of the three-member committee formed by BJP president Amit Shah to discuss possible candidates with the Opposition.
Also speculation continues about the National Democratic Alliance’s likely choice with a news website suggesting that former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan could be in consideration even though the possibility of a non-political selection is remote.
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President Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure comes to an end next month on July 24, with the Presidential polls to take place on July 17. According to Election Commission, June 28 will be the last date to file nomination for candidates, with the result to be declared on July 20.