Moving from a cushy investment banking job in London to dusty roads of Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, Oxford and Columbia University educated 28-year-old Akshay Verma, son of a bureaucrat, is trying his hands at politics.
Verma, son of senior bureaucrat Amitabh Verma, recently founded Sarvjan Kalyan Loktantrik Party (SKLP) to contest the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Besides Verma, the party with a tag line of 'Shikshit Soch Yuva Nazaria', has fielded four other like-minded candidates from Bihar.
About 17 lakh voters in Muzaffarpur, known for its world famous Lichi, will decide the fate of 30 candidates on May 7 when it goes to polls.
BJP has fielded Ajay Nishad, son of sitting MP Capt J N Nishad, while Congress has put former Union minister Akhilesh Prasad Singh from the constituency. Janata Dal (United) has given ticket to Bijendra Chaudhary while Aam Aadmi Party's candidate is Prabhat Suman.
Dalits constitute about 16 per cent and Muslims about 15 per cent of the total voters in the constituency, which has six assembly segments -- Gaighat, Bochahan, Kurhani, Aurai, Sakra and Muzaffarpur.
Asked what prompted him to join politics, Verma said, "I have been doing social work in the region through various forums and got first-hand experience of the issues and problems of the people of my constituency." However, doing work through an NGO or other platforms has its limitations, he said, adding, "therefore I decided to contest as it would provide a platform to enable us to deliver to the large target group in an easier manner.
"We are confident of making a mark in the parliamentary elections," Verma, who was a former president of School of International & Public Affairs Student Association Columbia University, said.
Verma, also a graduate from St Stephen's, facilitated training in modern techniques of fish farming for the fisherman community, which comprises about 20 per cent of the total population here.