Rickshaw puller from Amritsar jumps into poll fray

Amritsar: Living in penury and hardly being able to make two ends meet has not prevented a 60 year-old rickshaw puller from jumping into the poll fray.

Mahinder Singh is contesting the January 30 Punjab Assembly polls from Amritsar (East) as an Independent.

Following his daily routine, he gets up early in the morning and quickly goes around looking to pick up the `sawaaris` (passengers) so that he has some money at the end of the day to feed his family.

For most part of the day, Singh, father of four children, takes his tastefully decorated rickshaw to seek votes in the constituency, from where the main contestants include BJP`s Dr Navjot Kaur, wife of Amritsar MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu.

When asked what prompted him to contest, Singh wearing a dejected look, told PTI, "I am fed up with this system. With so much time having passed since the country gained Independence, lives of poor people like me remain unchanged.

If I don`t earn for a day, my family will starve. I want to change this system". "Look where the prices have touched, what will a poor man do," Singh, who lives in Maqbulpura area here and has two sons and two daughters, besides his wife whom he has to take care of, said.

Son of a labourer, Singh was born in Barkia Karea village near Lahore, Pakistan, and migrated to India along with his family after the country`s partition.

It is not just Singh who wants to change the system, a young candidate, a staunch believer in the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, is also testing his electoral luck from Amritsar (West) constituency.