Independent candidate and social activist Shamlal 'Gandhiwadi', who is in fray along with senior leaders of the BJP and the Congress from Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, has said parties no longer talk about "real issues" concerning common people and if elected, he will become the voice of masses.
'Gandhiwadi', 36, is pitted against 30 candidates from Amritsar, including Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri of the BJP and Congress' sitting MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla.
He had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Amritsar in 2009 and 2014.
He has also unsuccessfully fought the Amritsar civic polls twice and even the Punjab assembly election. However, despite not tasting electoral success, he is not willing to give up. The social activist said he knows one day he will achieve success and bring a change.
'Gandhiwadi' said he is not deterred by competition and instead derives strength from Mahatma Gandhi's ideals which he propagates while campaigning.
"Nobody talks about real issues these days which concern common public. If elected, I will be the voice of people and raise these issues vociferously and become the voice of masses," he said.
If elected, the Independent candidate said he will exert pressure on government to scrap Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir, fight for cheaper electricity rates, ensure respectable amount be given to old as pension and find a viable solution to problem of stray animals roaming on roads here causing accidents, besides making Amritsar clean and green.
He said his primary aim is to spread awareness about Mahatma Gandhi's teachings of non-violence and simple living.
"We still witness communal issues and there is a need to understand the importance of non-violence and peace," said 'Gandhiwadi', who earns his livelihood doing petty jobs.
Sporting a white Gandhi cap and donning plain white clothes, he goes out for door-to-door campaigning in Amritsar on his bicycle to seek votes for his clean credentials, besides propagating the message of non-violence and communal harmony.
"These days fighting elections has became a rich man's game. See how much money main political parties are spending. Even some candidates are spending heavily just on building their image. This money could have been used for the benefit of poor," he said.
"If one could understand the simple ideas propagated by Gandhi ji like the need to adopt simple living and staying away from social evils, the world would be a much better place to live in," the Gandhian, who lives in a rented locality in Amritsar West and has a wife and minor child to support, said.
'Gandhiwadi' claims real development means when no one will have to struggle to make their two ends meet.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)