Varanasi: After carrying the enormous baggage of train passengers for over three decades, a dusky coolie now aspires carting the hopes of 3.5 lakh voters of his native district of Deoria.
Amiruddin Bhai (48), the red-clad Coolie No 220 of Varanasi railway station since 1975, is set to contest Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections from his native Deoria district as Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) candidate.
"He is our best bet in UP and reflects party's commitment to empower the last worker," Paswan said in a chat with newspersons here.
THE ODD ONE: Ram Vilas Paswan's party fields a coolie in polls to prove its commitment to empower the workers.
The 6'2 ft tall man from Belvania village of Deoria district is also the national vice-president of Akhil Bhartiya Kuli Sangathan (national union of coolies) — and lives with his two coolie siblings Aashiq and Sabit at the Coolie's Waiting Room of Varanasi railway station.
"I never dreamt of even contesting local body polls, but Paswanji has bestowed a bigger honour with far greater responsibility on my shoulders. I have successfully carried the aspirations of 8.5 lakh coolies of 750 railway stations of India and am confident of fruitfully carting the hopes of 3.5 lakh voters of my constituency to the Vidhan Sabha," said a cocksure Amiruddin.
But what makes him feel so sure about an electoral triumph. Perhaps the red army of coolies which is his sole star campaigner.
''Each of the 56 villages of my constituency houses a population of over 25 coolies who are already out to build a wave in my favour," he claimed.
''Meri kisi bhi candidate se takkar nahi hai, balki baki sabhi mujhe harane me lage hain,'' boasted the man who like a seasoned politico is banking on a sizeable minority and Dalit population in his constituency.
Far from acting pricey over getting the LJP ticket, Amiruddin wants to continue with his job on the railway station as soon as the elections are over.
"I am original Coolie No 220 and not duplicate Coolie No 786 Amitabh Bachchan or Coolie No 1 Govinda. Even after winning the election I will not skip my profession, but wear my red uniform and registration token to the Vidhan Sabha," he claimed.