For wheelchair-bound Suvarna Raj, an international para-athlete, taking on her opponents might have been her wont but entering the electoral fray is an uncharted territory but with a purpose– to make all MCD schools disable-friendly. Campaiging on her wheelchair, the 33-year-old Swaraj India candidate from Babarpur’s 50 E ward in the North MCD, also vows to make public toilets disbale-friendly and appoint teachers to train children with special abilities. She has represented India in table tennis in Asian Para Games-2014 and Asian Para Championships in 2013. She has also won two national medals in para-athletics.
“As a disabled person, I had to face a lot of challenges, especially in using public toilets. After we win the MCD polls, we will ensure all public toilets are disable friendly. “We will make all MCD schools disable friendly and hire teachers to teach differently abled children,” Raj said. She was paralysed down her waist due to a polio strike when she was just two years old. With a Masters degree in Social Work, Raj currently runs Association for Disable People, with her husband, who is partly disabled. A native of Nagpur, she moved to Delhi after her marriage in 2008. It was only a few days back that Swaraj India approached her and expressed its desire to be its candidate.
“I had sought ticket from the Aam Aadmi Party in 2013 Assembly polls, but I was told that they cannot risk a ticket to a disbaled person,” Raj said. She canvasses support for her and her party on her wheelchair. Raj claims she was attacked on April 14 while she was campaigning in an e-rickshaw in her ward and narrowly escaped the assault. Her party Swaraj India, led by Yogendra Yadav, has fielded 107 women candidates in up-coming MCD polls. This includes social activist Dinesh Bhatia, threatre actress Shobha Sharma, among others.
“We don’t want women candidates to be dummies for their husbands, fathers, or father-in-laws. “We have asked all our women candidates to not seek votes in the name of their husbands, fathers or families,” Yadav said.