Sailor set to test political waters, raises dowry issue

NEW DELHI: Captain Sudhir Kumar is thrilled with the kind of support he has been getting, specially from women. Far from the regulated, almost
regimental life he is used to, Kumar is sweating it out in the Delhi sun and getting a taste of Indian politics. He is contesting the general elections from the New Delhi constituency as candidate of the little known Bharat Punarnirman Dal (BPD) and is addressing issues that nobody seems to have paid much attention to till now safety at sea for Indian sailors is just one of them.

Kumar, presently working with the merchant navy, has been associated with BPD since its inception in 2006. The volunteers comprise ex-IITians, MBAs and engineers and the target audience is the middle class voter. That is precisely why Kumar chose to enter the battle from a strongly contested zone. “I represent the common man who is fed up with dirty politics. All my voters are decision makers. The New Delhi constituency has the maximum number of people who can make a difference to the legal and administerial way of functioning in the country,” says Kumar.

The party, that is fielding 11 contestants all over the country, is strongly focussed on family affairs and Kumar is arguing hard against the present dowry laws. “I have been campaigning long hours and going for padyatras too. The response has been phenomenal, specially from women who have connected to the issues I have raised. No civil or uncivil country punishes 10-30 relatives for a crime that is no crime. A marital dispute is between the husband and wife and unless there are bigger issues attached to it, should be dealt with in a civil court and not a criminal court,” says Kumar.

Kumar is on leave from his job at present, having come to Delhi only 20 days ago to start his campaigning. “I am an honest person and need a job to support my family,” he laughs, adding that if he is elected, he would have no option but to quit. “I know the competition I am up against but it doesn’t deter me at all. I would be happy if I am able to get my message across to the people and make some difference to their lives,” he adds.

Because of his strong connections with Africa he has been posted there for several years Kumar is also advocating strong ties with the continent. “India is going to be facing a severe shortage of food grains in the next five years or so. Africa can be our food basket and we need to develop our relations with them,” he says.

Far from the usual promises of roti, kapda aur makan, Kumar has an entirely new agenda up his sleeve which includes urban rebuilding of Delhi, domestic harmony, judicial reforms and freedom of media and private radio

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