The Telegraph
Thursday , April 10 , 2014
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Samajwadi nominee’s vote hunt on humble wheels

A cool SUV ride may buffer the election heat, but does it connect a neta with his people? NO, the answer comes firm and bold from Doddi Govind Raja.

The 42-year-old Samajwadi Party nominee from Jamshedpur parliamentary constituency is braving the harsh sun to campaign on a bicycle — also his poll symbol — instead of air-conditioned cars like some of his elite rivals to strike the right chord with citizens.

The engineering dropout, who albeit holds a bachelors degree in social science, believes his limited-resource canvassing is the best way to identify with the electorate, all of who might not belong to the affluent class.

“Unlike major national and regional parties whose poll blitz includes vehicles, banners and posters, mine is a humble attempt to pedal through city neighbourhoods and tell people that I am one among them,” Raja said, pedalling through Sakchi’s lanes and bylanes.

Not that the Samajwadi Party candidate, also an RTI crusader, has given up his hot wheels entirely. “I reach my campaign location in my Ford Ikon and then go door-to-door on my bicycle. While using the car helps save time, the pedal yatra makes voters aware of my party,” he said sporting his signature red cap and white tee, bearing the cycle symbol.

In addition to his cycle campaign, Raja also harps on local issues like improving infrastructure and facilities at state-owned MGM Medical College and Hospital, initiating steps to make Ghatshila a separate district and ensuring better standards for the working classes.

His efforts may or may not win him votes on April 17, when Jamshedpur goes to polls, but his unique canvassing style has won him praises galore.

Yeh thoda alag type ka candidate lagta hai. Ghar-ghar aake apne party ka prachar kiya woh bhi cycle chala kar itni dhoop mein. Yahan par fight JVM aur BJP mein hai. Par inke alag style ke chalte inko kuch vote toh jarur milega (This candidate is different. He comes to our door on a bicycle that too in this oppressive weather. In Jamshedpur, the big fight is between the JVM and the BJP, but his unique campaign style will certainly fetch him some votes),” said Rishi Kumar, a resident of Aam Bagan in Sakchi.

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