The Oddballs

A large number of candidates—85 per cent in 2009—lose their deposits. So what’s the attraction to contest?
The Oddballs

A large number of candidates—85 per cent in 2009—lose their deposits. It’s a measure meant to discourage non-serious candidates, for you stand to lose Rs 25,000 for general seats and half of that in reserved ones. Yet the numbers of those who take the plunge are going up. So what’s the attraction, frustration with established parties or momentary fame?

Jasminsha (Thrissur, Kerala) A male nurse, his campaign consists of conducting free health check-ups of the elderly members of families he meets during his door-to-door campaign.   Gaurav Sharma (South Mumbai) A martial arts trainer with the Mumbai police, the 31-year-old’s poll symbol is the window. And he appears at windows to campaign, clad in a Spiderman suit.

Rajkumar Dowarah (Jorhat, Assam) The ex-militant contested the last two elections as well and polled 16,000 and 18,000 votes respectively. The constituency has 1.3 million voters.   Sunita Chaudhary (New Delhi) Hailed as India’s first woman auto driver, she contested in 2009 and polled 1,468 votes. This time she is confident she’ll cross the 2,000 mark.

Om Prakash Jakhu (Hoshiarpur, Punjab) The cobbler at Kotwali Bazar is a fan of Ram Vilas Paswan and believes that contesting the elections brings him closer to the people he serves.   Nagarmal Bajoria (Patna Sahib) He’s lost 184 elections. Says had he won, he would no longer be “dharti pakad” (one who holds his ground) but would be “kursi pakad” (who clings to the chair).

  • Bharathi  Kannamma (Madurai, TN)
    A postgraduate in sociology and a former marketing manager in a private bank, the nomination papers of this transgender were rejected in 2011 for the mayoral polls.
  • Sohrab Sah (Giridih, Jharkhand)
    Not much difference between campaigning and begging, says the man soliciting both notes and votes. By his own admission, he had collected Rs 50,000 in the first week.
  • Pramod Nathekar (Nashik, Maharashtra)
    The footwear seller caught the attention of the media  when he submitted his security deposit, donated by people, in coins. It took the collectorate staff three hours to count it.
  • Vishwanath Kataria (Kanpur, UP)
    A former air traffic controller, Kataria’s claim to fame is the silver, horse-drawn chariot that he used to reach the collectorate to file his nomination.
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