Modi's Rath designer now takes him on in poll fray

Ahmedabad, Dec. 10: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra ModiA graduate of the Ahmedabad-based National Institute of Design (NID), who made an animation film on the 2002 post-Godhra riots, has decided to contest this year's Assembly polls in Gujarat as a candidate of the little-known New Socialist Movement.

Not only that, he has decided to challenge incumbent Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the latter's stronghold -- the Maninagar Assembly Constituency.

“The entire country is being ruled by the most unqualified and selfish people. This is a time for change…though it’s a humble beginning, ’’ said Pravin Mishra, who designed Modi's election rath ahead of the last Assembly elections in 2002.

Thirty-one-year-old Mishra said he took up the offer to build Modi's rath five years ago to watch the Chief Minister and his party -- the Bharatiya Janata Party -- from close quarters.

Mishra, who came to Gujarat 11 years ago from Bihar as a student of a post-graduate programme in Communication Design at the NID, is one of the three candidates that the New Socialist Movement (NSM) has put in the fray. The NSM is an offshoot of the Jan Sangharsh Manch, a civil rights organisation in Ahmedabad. All are founding members of the Jan Sangharsh Manch, which has been working for the rights of riot victims.

To tackle Modi's iconic image in the Hindu-dominated constituency of Maninagar, Parvin Mishra hit the poll trail riding on a tricycle rickshaw with appeals to the people on the lines of the following: “ Never ever has it been so bad in the state, the hype about vikas (development) is all bakvas (absurd) it is being blown out of proportion.. The real Gujarat is different what ruling party is trying to portray”.

On being asked what had made him to take the electoral plunge, Mishra replied, "It is high time that educated youth take charge and take on the fascists in their headquarters. "

Quizzed about his electorates, he said, "I am targeting the youth and the working class electorate in my constituency who have a moderate mind-set and are looking for political change. "

In Maninagar, people react to Mishra with some amusement. They say he should first work in the field before contesting the elections. Some, however, have welcomed the young man as he is the making right voices in the BJP stronghold.

The Maninagar constituency has about three lakh voters, and it goes to poll in the second phase of the elections on December 16. (ANI)

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