When ideology shapes into active politics, people like Dr Mukul Sinha jump into the fray, even if only to teach people about their democratic rights, inclusive development and importance of secular democracy. Such candidates, like Sinha, don’t mind losing the battle of votes, for the greater good. Sinha fought the battle under New Socialist Movement (NSM) banner and could get only 1,860 votes from Sabarmati constituency. But, in his defeat he takes pride in the fact that he had served the purpose of contesting the election — of educating people about the value of their vote.
This was Sinha’s second election; first one was contested from Shahpur in 2007 – when he succeeded in getting only 254 votes.
In a career span of over two decades as an activist of democratic rights, Sinha has been an integral part of the struggle for justice to riot victims, and to the kin of fake encounter victims. He has represented the unheard at all possible legal platforms — be it the high court or the Supreme Court. One therefore, has to have an in depth understanding of the difference between any independent candidate and Sinha, the candidate.
Addressing over 14 public meetings and several door-to-door visits in the slums of Sabarmati isn’t easy, especially within only 12 days of campaign. “The sole purpose and objective was to sensitise people about their democratic rights,” Sinha said, adding that his team managed to communicate to thousands of people. Generating a collective feeling that people can decide on the next ruler and making them feel empowered is among the main objectives of his contesting elections.
However, during their canvassing, the team was shocked to learn that despite all hullabaloo about city’s development, hundreds of families in Sabarmati area, particularly women in Gandhivaas, Velji No Kuvo and other areas are forced to defecate in the open.
“It's time they are mobilised to carry out a mass defecation in the Motera stadium on the day of next cricket match, if they are not provided toilets immediately,” he threatened.
“I had succeeded in a similar experiment when I mobilized the class four employees of ATIRA for a mass defecation in ATIRA garden, as the administration was not ready to build lavatories for them,” he said, adding with pride, that toilets came up there even before the staff reached the garden in the morning.
The area is a mixture of poor, minority and middle class people and we could target both poor and middle class as well as the Muslims. It was a wise decision.
Difference between Shahpur and Sabarmati…
All calculations changes on the eve of election. Our target voters were lured badly in Shahpur in 2007. Even Sabarmati is not different, but, many people did remain with us which garnered 1,860 votes.
Formation of NSM – the real Leftist
NSM is a Left-oriented party and believes in the politics of poor. It wants to tell people that real democracy should ensure that minority (not only the religious minority) is happy. “We tell people that solution of poor’s problem doesn't lie in closing down avenues but by joining mainstream struggle,” he said.
Hindus jailed for Naroda-Patia case
Sinha wasn’t allowed to hold a meeting in the D-Cabin area. People there said that he had sent many Hindus to prison in the Naroda Patia case. “We tried to make them understand that, the judgment had helped the Muslims to regain their faith in judicial system, which will stop them from endangering the integrity of country,” he said.
Gathering the masses
2000 people attended the meeting at Ranip market and we didn’t pay any rent to anyone, nor fed nasta, or had government machinery backup, Sinha claimed.
Even though NSM may have no impact on people’s minds, NSM is geared up to enforce BJP’s Sankalp Patra, wherein chief minister Narendra Modi had promised people of 50 lakh houses and 3 lakh jobs in the next five years.
Countering double standards
The BJP-ruled Gujarat is inviting foreign investors to Gujarat. “What is the efficacy of Global investors summit if there is an anti-FDI stand by BJP?” he asked.