“I always win from here because my only crutches are the people, they love me and I love them. I put people on a pedestal higher than Lord Krishna.”
This is what Shyam Sunder Sharma, 72, says is his secret sauce to be the man who cannot be defeated from Mant, a seat in Mathura district from where he has won eight times since 1989. He is now contesting for a record ninth win.
What makes Sharma’s case special is that he may contest from different parties or even as Independent, but he still wins. He started off winning from Mant on a Congress ticket, won as Independent, won as a Trinamool Congress MLA and won last in 2017 as a BSP MLA by 432 votes, the narrowest of margins in the state. The BJP won all the Mathura district seats in the wave in 2017, except Mant. The Samajwadi Party has put up Akhilesh Yadav’s close aide Sanjay Lathar from Mant to stop Sharma’s victory march now.
Sharma’s Secret Sauce
“I always win because I only take the Baisakhi (crutches) of the people. That is why people like me a lot as I like them a lot. If anyone respects people more than Lord Krishna, it is Shyam Sunder Sharma. I have won eight times, and on most occasions, without any political party. My party are the people, my strength is the people,” Sharma told News18 in an interview.
“Mere pass jo shramta hai, jo logon ke liye pyaar hai, jo sneh hai, woh kisi rajneta ke pass nahi hai (The affection I have for people is unparalleled). Thakurji (Lord Krishna) once pulled back his hands from me but the people always showered their blessings.”
The incident he seems to refer to is the only blip in his success run — the 2012 elections when he lost to RLD’s Jayant Chaudhary. However, within two months, a bypoll was held as Chaudhary stepped down from the MLA seat as he wished to retain his Mathura Lok Sabha seat. Sharma won the bypoll, this time on a Trinamool Congress ticket.
“I lost then in 2012 because Rahul Gandhi made Jayant Chaudhary’s father (Ajit Singh) a Union Minister who announced that if Jayant wins the Assembly election from Mant, he will become Chief Minister. I contested again within two months of that loss and won the bypoll. People of Mant have a different philosophy and thinking,” Sharma said.
Asked now if he can win again given his party, the BSP, looks rather inactive on the ground, Sharma retorted: “Who is active in this election? The BJP is active, diesel and petrol and LPG rates are active, high electricity bills are active and stray cattle and bulls are active. I will win definitely.”
Sharma said there have always been issues of caste, religion, region and dynasty, but people never ceased to shower their blessings on him. “I have done development. That is my secret and my connect with the people of my area,” he says.
Mant polls in the first phase of Uttar Pradesh elections on February 10.