Challenger To CM: ‘My Fight Is Against False Promises’

Manoj Sharma, 32, who lost his job as a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus conductor in 2018, has decided to contest election against CM Arvind Kejriwal to mark his protest

I was a conductor in DTC in 2018. I am jobless today. Therefore, I have applied for the vacant post of legislator from New Delhi assembly constituency. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had promised regularisation of all of the contractual jobs in Delhi but he didn’t deliver. Many of the contractual employees including me from the DTC staged a protest for about two and a half months for regularisation of their jobs and all of them were sacked.

These politicians have no idea how hard it is for us to take care of a family in such a small salary and without any assurance for tomorrow. We fought for our rights and ended up being jobless. Now it’s time to contest elections against those who garnered votes making false promises.

Contractual jobs of grade four employees are the worst in India. With minimal payment and no safe prospects, running a family is a Herculean task. We do the same job as other government employee do but are paid lesser. Nor do we get benefits such as insurance, pension and medical sops. Contractual employees don’t even get paid leaves. Even if they fall sick or face any exigency, they have to forego their payouts for that period.

Chief Minister Kejriwal garnered our votes on the pretext that our (contract workers) employment will be regularised. But it turned out to be just an election gimmick. Now we are jobless. By fighting this election against Mr Kejriwal, I wish to bring attention to the plight of state contract workers and false assurance given by politicians. It’s not vengeance; it’s a democratic protest of sorts, in line with our rights in the world’s largest democratic country. I am a graduate. When there are no jobs even for skilled people, what can a simple BA degree holder do? 

I have learnt a valuable lesson while filing my papers for this election. When I came at the Jamnagar House, where electoral nominations were being filed, I saw a long queue. Many people like me, ordinary men struggling to make money to take care of their families, were in the queue. I witnessed how each and every person was treated equally. The Election Commission’s office gave me a feeling that each citizen of this country is equal. This gives me hope. I will continue my fight against all those governments who come to power making false promises. We need jobs and we need them now. The politicians need to understand this.

I don’t know how many votes I will get, nor do I care. I was a bus conductor, so nobody knows me here. But one thing is sure that if people start following the same and contest elections against those who are in power, India will be a great country, like it was a thousand year back.