History bears examples galore of monarchs, who after a series of battle defeats, would finally triumph. Tamil Nadu’s self-styled “Election King” K. Padmarajan, however, offers a contrast.
As an independent candidate, Padmarajan recently filed his 217th nomination recently in the poll-bound state and has no compunction in admitting that he is staring at yet another defeat.
Like King Vikramaditya in the “Vikram aur Betaal” legend, he has not lost heart in contesting polls across the country against big leaders again and again despite no hope of victory.
“I have contested against Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narasimha Rao, Manmohan Singh, J. Jayalalithaa, M. Karunanidhi, A.K. Antony, B.S.Yediyurappa, S.M. Krishna, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Ramnath Kovind, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi,” Padmarajan told IANS.
This time around, he has filed his nomination papers against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami in Edappadi constituency and from his native Mettur constituency.
“I had also filed my nomination papers against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan but these got rejected,” he said.
Running a tyre retreading unit in Tamil Nadu’s Mettur, Padmarajan said he was prompted to first contest polls in 1988 after his friends said that elections are only for the rich and powerful.
“For the first time I had contested in polls in 1988 from Mettur.
“Earlier people were happy in seeing the candidates who came to their homes seeking their support. But now it has changed. During those days when there used to be a long wait for a landline phone connection, poll candidates used to get telephone connection quickly,” he recalled.
Padmarajan too had his share of thrilling experiences.
“I was kidnapped by some after I had filed my nomination papers against then Prime Minister P.V. Narashima Rao in Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh. My nomination was rejected as I was not present when the papers were scrutinised. Later I escaped,” he claimed.
According to him, he has spent about Rs 50 lakh in his tryst with the polls over the years.
“I do not have any regrets. The media publicity has not resulted in any increase in clientele for my business. The retreading technology has changed and my unit is not functional now,” Padmarajan said.
The highest number of votes secured by him was 6,273 in 2011 while contesting in Mettur constituency. The lowest number of votes secured by him was eight while contesting from Mylapore seat in the 1994 poll, Padmarajan said.
Entering the Limca Book of Records with his electoral feat, Padmarajan has now applied to the Election Commission to register his party named “Election King Failure Party”.