One of them flips burgers, the other rustles up noodles at a roadside joint. The two are among the 278 candidates who are trying their luck in the May 19 Lok Sabha elections in Punjab.
While 30-year-old Ravinder Pal Singh who owns the popular ‘Baba Ji Burger Wale’ is contesting from the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, Jasbir Singh (55), owner of the famous ‘Chacha Maggi Wala’ is a contender from the Patiala parliamentary constituency. Both are fighting as independent candidates.
“I decided to contest in order to raise awareness about the serious issue of growing cancer cases because of discharge of industrial effluents and chemicals into the ‘Buddha nullah’,” Ravinder Pal Singh, who has a burger joint at Model Town extension market in Ludhiana, told PTI.
Churning out crispy burgers to his customers for the last 12 years, Ravinder Pal Singh said he was also concerned about the dilapidated condition of government schools and hospitals in the state.
“I also want the condition of government hospitals and schools to be improved so that the common man has access to better education and healthcare facilities at lesser cost,” he said.
“I have saved some money from my business which is being used for campaigning and I am getting good response from people,” he added.
However, he claimed that “some people” do not want him to contest and were creating hurdles for him.
“My business has taken a hit as some people have coerced some of my workers to desert me so I cannot campaign. They do not want me to contest polls,” he claimed without taking any names.
From Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, the Congress has fielded Ravneet Singh Bittu while the Shiromani Akali Dal’s nominee is Maheshinder Singh Grewal.
The Lok Insaaf Party has fielded Simarjeet Singh Bains and the Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate is Tejpal Singh.
Meanwhile, Jasbir Singh of ‘Chacha Maggi Wala’ said he wanted to raise his voice against the “corruption” in the state and the “injustice” meted out to the downtrodden.
“I want to fight against corruption which you will find in every department,” said Jasbir, who has built a loyal clientele courtesy his spicy version of the popular Maggi noodles that he sells near the Patiala bus stand.
“They (officials) just want to extract money from you by hook or by crook,” he added.
Jasbir Singh had earlier contested the 2017 Punjab assembly polls from Patiala rural seat but had lost.
From the Patiala parliamentary seat, the Congress has fielded former Union minister Preneet Kaur while the Akalis have fielded Surjit Singh Rakhra.
The candidates of the AAP and the Nawan Punjab Party are Neena Mittal and Dharamvira Gandhi respectively.
As many as 278 candidates are in the fray for the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab where polling will be held on May 19, the last of the seven-phase general elections.