Bihar’s Lal Mani Das is on a mission to coax people into voting, and not giving in to the temptation of ‘bought votes’. The 50-year-old, who sells snacks for a living, spends the early part of the day traversing across Patna on what he calls the ‘Cycle Jagrukta Yatra’. A banner is mounted on his cycle asking voters to keep ’10 things’ in mind before exercising their franchisee. Like electing those whose campaigning isn’t extravagant, and those who respect the rule of law.
“Also, among those seeking re-election, we should vote for a candidate, who does not create a ruckus in Parliament, has an attendance of at least 75 per cent, participates in House debates and who is committed,” he told PTI.
He implores people to press NOTA if candidates don’t fulfill any of these requirements. Something which 1.1% (around 6 million) of voters did at the 2014 elections. Das particularly laments the absence of an estimated 100 million people working away from their homes and unable to vote.
He engages with everyone he meets, random people on the streets as well as those who come to buy snacks from him.
“Voting in India is either personality or party driven. No one ever bothers to vote for a candidate on merit, like how honest he is or if he is a criminal,” PTI reported Das as saying. His mission, he says, is to train people to screen each candidate carefully.