16 times beaten, 17th time not shy: Mathura priest to contest again

Mathura: He has lost eight Lok Sabha elections and as many assembly polls. But that does not deter Fakkar Ramayani to file his nomination as an Independent candidate for the 17th time.”It is my ninth Lok Sabha election that I am contesting,” Ramayani told PTI after filing his nomination papers on Tuesday for the Mathura constituency of Uttar Pradesh.

Ramayani, the ‘mahant’ (head priest) of Galteshwar temple in Mathura, has so far contested eight Lok Sabha and assembly polls each, with the first being the general election after withdrawal of the Emergency. The 73-year-old had lost his security deposit in the 2014 election, but he is not disappointed with his failures. “I am sure that ultimately people would realise the cause I am fighting for.”

Like the previous elections, Ramayani said, he would contest on a two-point election manifesto — ensuring construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya and making the Yamuna river pollution-free.

After winning the election, the Independent candidate said, he would try to convince other parliamentarians for a Ram temple at the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site and clean the Yamuna.

A devout Hindu, the candidate claims of cramming the mythological epic, Ramayana, in verbatim. The priest said he would use a car since he had a knee problem, saying that the expenses on his car and the security deposit were borne by his disciples.

Like the previous elections, Ramayani had offered a puja to pay obeisance to the Yamuna before filing his nomination papers.

Meanwhile, District Magistrate Sarvagyaram Mishra said Ramayani was among the two candidates who have filed their nomination papers on the first day on Tuesday. The second nomination was filed by Jaswant Singh Baghel of the Rashtriya Shoshit Samaj Party.

Due to Holi, the next phase of nomination will be held from March 22-26, the official added. Mathura will go to polls on April 18. The 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in seven phases from April 11 to May 19.

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