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238 defeat in India |  The electoral chess champion is preparing for another defeat

238 defeat in India | The electoral chess champion is preparing for another defeat

(Meetur) Despite his 238 electoral defeat, 65-year-old Indian K. Padmarajan says that he is “happy” with the preparation of his campaign despite his certainty of losing in the upcoming legislative elections for the largest democracy in the world, which will begin next April. 19 for six weeks.

Padmarajan, a tire repair shop owner, first ran as an independent candidate in the 1988 elections in Mettur, his hometown in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

People laughed as he threw himself into battle. Without allegiance to any party, he replied that he wanted to prove that the common man could enter politics.

“All candidates are looking to win the elections,” he told AFP between his large mustache and his bright scarf that fell over his shoulder. “It's not me!” he asserts in the manner of Pierre de Coubertin, for whom it is important to participate. “Victory is secondary.” And at the time of inevitable defeat, he insists on saying that he is “happy to lose.”

This year, he is vying for the parliamentary seat from Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu. Dubbed the “Election King,” he has tried his luck from presidential elections to local elections across the country.

He lost to several prime ministers, including Narendra Modi, Atal Bihar Vajpayee, and Manmohan Singh. He was also defeated by Congress Party candidate Rahul Gandhi.

” I don't care ”

“Who is the opposite candidate? I don’t care.” His main concern now is to continue his extraordinary run of defeats. Even if they cost him dearly.

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He estimates he has spent thousands of dollars over more than three decades. He was required to pay a security deposit of 25,000 rupees ($300) for his current participation in the elections, which will be refunded only if he wins more than 16 percent of the votes.

His only victory is that he managed to win the title of Indian Underdog Candidate which is approved by Limca Book of Records Broken in India.

Mr. Padmarajan's best performance was in the Mettur legislative elections in 2011, where he secured 6,237 votes. The winner received over 75,000.

“I did not expect to win any award, and this proves that people accept me,” he recalls.

In addition to his tire repair shop, K. Padmarajan deals in homeopathic products and works as an editor for the local press.

But he stresses that the electoral battle is the most important of all his activities. “It is a matter of commitment.”

“People are reluctant to apply. I want to be a model, to raise awareness,” continues the man who seems devoid of any electoral platform.

“Miss Best”

Mr. Padmarajan meticulously preserves all the elements of his various nominations, and keeps in the archive all his election cards, duly laminated, which attest to his political failures. They are decorated with different symbols he chose for each campaign: a fish, a ring, a hat, a phone and this year, tires.

After being ridiculed, Mr. Padmarajan has now been invited to speak about resilience to the students, and talk about how to deal with defeat. “I don't think about winning. This time he emphasizes in the manner of Samuel Beckett and his famous phrase 'Fail again.' Miss Better. In such a state of mind, there is no pressure,” the candidate explains.

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Mr. Padmarajan holds a lesson in democracy, at a time when it appears to be weakening in India, according to a survey published by the Pew Research Center in February, which revealed that 67% of Indians, compared to 48% in 2017, estimate in 2023 that autocracy is a better system than democracy. The charade.

Human rights advocates denounce several criminal investigations targeting opposition leaders, and believe Mr. Modi's government is exploiting justice for political ends. For Mr. Padmarajan, it is more important than ever that every citizen in the country goes to vote.

“This is their right, they must vote. In this regard, there is neither victory nor defeat,” he said, stressing that he will remain a candidate in the country’s elections until his last breath. What if he wins one day? He said jokingly: “I will have a heart attack.”