He has no high-profile means or a campaign strategy as he moves around on an Activa scooter with his lone Punjab Police security guard riding pillion. But ‘Baba Jee Burger Wale’, as independent candidate Ravinder Pal Singh is better known in the Model town area of Punjab’s biggest city Ludhiana, is giving a serious shot for the May 19 Lok Sabha election for the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency.
“I am on my own in this campaign. I move around on my Activa with a small poster in front and my security guard riding pillion. I am contesting the election because people, particularly traders, are fed up with the candidates of the bigger political parties,” Ravinder told.
Having studied up to 8th class and coming from a family with seven sisters and a brother, Ravinder said that he is getting a good response from people.
“Today only, the hosiery traders of the area honoured me and told me that they were looking at a new option among candidates who could speak their (traders’) voice. They said that instead of pressing the NOTA (none of the above) button, they would support me,” Ravinder pointed out.
Unmarried, 30-year-old Ravinder, lives with his mother and sells desi-style burgers from his cart (rehri).
Not everything is just business for him. A board on his cart proudly offers free burgers to minor children who can recite Sikh religious hymns. The cart also proudly lists 2019 as the year of the 550th birth anniversary of first Sikh master, Guru Nanak Dev.
“I have been making and selling burgers for 12 years now. My father and mother used to sell pakodas on a rehri (cart) before my father passed away a few years back. I have been selling burgers ever since,” he said.
Ravinder is pitted against formidable candidates like sitting Member of Parliament (MP) Ravinder Singh Bittu (Congress), Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Simarjeet Singh Bains of the Lok Insaf Party (LIP).
A resident of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar near Tajpur Chowk of this busy and congested industrial city, Ravinder said that the big city and its residents have multiple problems that hew will try to fix if he is elected.
Ravinder has listed, in his affidavit, that there is an abetment to suicide case pending against him which was registered last month. He has declared movable assets of Rs 1.70 lakh, including a 2017-model Honda Activa two-wheeler. He has no immovable assets. (Agency)