Political system ignores Independents like us, rues ex-bureaucrat

May 6th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Agra, May 6 (IANS) He has great plans for Agra city if voted to power, but Chandra Pal Singh, a former bureaucrat who is contesting the polls as an Independent, rues that well-meaning people like him get no support from the political system, the voters and even the media.
“They say there are no decent, honest and educated candidates in the electoral fray, but when people like me choose to present an alternative, we get no support … nor does the political system take us seriously … the media ignores us,” Pal told IANS here.

Pal is academically qualified and has taken up important responsibilities in the administration, including being a consultant of the Planning Commission besides being member of many delegations and commissions.

But the lack of support doesn’t prevent him from hitting the campaign trail in his own small way. He ventures out with a couple of vehicles early morning to rural areas, talks to voters and explains to them the finer nuances of economic planning and government schemes in simple terms.

Pal has his own priorities and an agenda for the development of Agra, which goes to polls Thursday, even though established political parties don’t take him seriously. He may not win the election but declares: “I will make a difference.”

He is particularly critical of the mainstream media, which he accuses of “supporting those with money bags”.

“I know how the government works and what is the importance of economic planning and how the city of the Taj Mahal can benefit from various government projects and schemes,” he says.

Pal’s keen interest in environmental crusades and support for cleaning the Yamuna river has won him some admirers, but hardly enough to see him sail through the elections. A few smaller outfits like the Humanist Party have extended support to him.

The problem is that most people tend to vote for the winning candidates as they do not want their votes wasted, say Pal’s supporters.

“That is why candidates like Chandra Pal have little chance of making a significant impact,” says his friend and supporter Sudhir Gupta, who works as a financial consultant.

The plight of Independent candidates was brought to light when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited criticism when at a press conference last month he urged people not to vote for Independent candidates since they had no chance of winning elections but cut into the votes of others.

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