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India polls: Meet the biggest loser, he's unelected after 158 contests

Published on Apr 30, 2014 1:16 PM
 
In this photograph taken on September 11, 2013, Indian shop owner K. Padmarajan poses during campaigning in Vadodra in the western state of Gujarat. Indian shop owner K. Padmarajan doesn't feel like a loser. In fact, he sees much to celebrate in the 158 times he has run for public office and failed. Now he is standing in the constituency of election frontrunner Narendra Modi. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian shop owner K Padmarajan doesn't feel like a loser. In fact, he sees much to celebrate in the 158 times he has stood for public office and failed.

Starting out in 1988, he had a point to prove - to those who laughed at the ambitions of a man who repaired tyres for a living and to the cynics who scorned Indian democracy with all its flaws and inefficiencies.

"Back then, I owned a cycle puncture repair shop and a thought struck me that I, an ordinary man with an ordinary income and no special status in society, could contest the elections," he told AFP.

He lost. And then lost again and again. Over 26 years, he has competed hopelessly for local assembly seats and parliament, often standing against big names such as prime ministers A.B. Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh.

 
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