Rajesh believes that to be a good people’s representative you have to look beyond politics.

Rajesh draws the hand symbol of the UDF on a wall in his work clothesRajesh paints the hand symbol of the UDF
news Kerala Local Body Polls 2020 Saturday, November 21, 2020 - 16:17

On Friday afternoon, Rajesh is going to file his nomination. After two and a half decades of political work he is contesting elections for the first time, from the Poonthoppu ward in Mannancherry panchayat of Alappuzha. He is the Left Democratic Front’s candidate for the upcoming local body elections. But then Rajesh, a CPI(M) member, is close to workers of all political parties in his neighbourhood. He has time and again drawn election symbols and slogans for publicity for various political parties. Even this year, when he is a contestant himself, Rajesh has taken up promotion graffiti work for other parties.

“That’s my job. You cannot look at politics when you do your job, or to be humane. When someone meets with an accident, you don’t ask for their political party before helping them out. When patients are admitted in a hospital, no one looks at their political leanings before treating them,” Rajesh says.

The artist has been sketching party symbols and election slogans for decades now. After finishing school, he got a diploma from a fine arts school nearby. He began teaching drawing and painting to children in batches of 25 and 30. Around the same time, he also began his political work, first becoming a member of the CPI(M) party, then a branch secretary and now a local committee member. This is the first time he is contesting an election.

“This time too, contestants of other parties approached me for graffiti work. I took them up for neighbouring wards. But for the ward that I’m contesting in, I’ve avoided this time. Even so, we are all friendly, we visit each other’s homes. Everyone is human. To be a good people’s representative, you have to think beyond politics,” he says.

Rajesh could not take up as much election graffiti work this year as he normally does because he is also busy with campaigning. But he can’t take a complete break since drawing is his livelihood. “Two years ago, I began working at a school as a drawing teacher. I also got to teach at the school I studied in,” Rajesh says.

Also read: Meet BJP's candidate for Kerala local body polls: Corona Thomas

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