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Rediff.com  » Election » Tea vendor's Vikas Party fields candidates in 4 UP seats

Tea vendor's Vikas Party fields candidates in 4 UP seats

April 07, 2009 13:36 IST
For many Jeetu Ram Ratna is just a roadside vendor serving tea to customers at a popular demonstration site in Lucknow which is just opposite to Uttar Pradesh's power centre -- Vidhan Sabha.

But this tea shop owner also runs a political party -- Vikas Party, which is registered with the Election Commission since 1996. Operating from a 4x8 square feet room, which doubles up as a tea shop and the party headquarters, the Vikas Party has announced to field candidates from four parliamentary constituencies of UP, which has a total of 80 seats.

"We will make a difference in this election and our candidates will surely win. We have fielded candidate from Mirzapur, Lucknow, Bhadohi and Kheri constituencies, where we have a support base," claimed Jeetu Ram, who easily switches from the role of a tea vendor to national president of the party.

In between serving tea to his customers, which includes media persons as well, Jeetu Ram spares time to finalise the party candidates and its manifesto.

Jeetu, whose party has contested many assembly and Lok Sabha polls, says the common man is fed up with the communal and casteist agenda of political parties.

"We will exploit these sentiments of common man in the elections. The candidates of our party are also from the lower strata of the society and they easily connect themselves with the people," Jeetu said, adding his party was low on funds but high on hopes.

Asked how the idea of floating a political party crossed his mind, Jeetu said though he did not have many resources and had to strive hard to earn his living, he decided to float the party to raise his and friends' voice against corruption and atrocities.

"Being at the Darna Sthal (where his shop is located) where I have the party office and my shop I came to know about the problems of the people as it was this place where they gather to raise their voice. While serving tea, I also have insight to their problems," Jeetu said.

The party manifesto, besides local issues, promises to bring back black money deposited by politicians in foreign banks and utilise it for developmental activities and stern measures for curbing communalism and casteism in the country.

"We believe that if black money of politicians deposited in foreign banks could be brought back to the country it will change face of the country. Though the issue has been taken up by some political parties now, it was there in our manifesto since inception of the party," he claimed.

Abhinav Pandey in Lucknow
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