“I am the real chowkidar,” said Tej Bahadur Yadav, former BSF jawan who was sacked in 2017 for his video complaining about the food served to the soldiers, soon after being declared the SP’s Varanasi candidate against PM Modi.
Getting quickly into poll mode, the SP candidate said: “I am the real chowkidar, who protected the boundaries of the nation for 21 years and raised voice against corruption. Chowkidar term doesn’t suit PM Modi.”
The Samajwadi Party made the surprise announcement on Monday to replace Shalini Yadav opposite PM Modi from this high-profile constituency. Shalini Yadav had unsuccessfully contested the Varanasi mayoral election in 2017 and is the daughter-in-law of Shyam Lal Yadav, a former Congress Rajya Sabha member.
The former jawan, who created a flutter with his 2017 video, said, “I am in the poll fray to show the mirror to PM Modi, not for victory and defeat. I will tell public that PM Modi who claims to be a well-wisher of the soldiers hasn’t fulfilled any of the promises he made to the soldiers. After knowing about the reality, public will support me.”
The former jawan added that around 10,000 ex-servicemen will fan out in the constituency and seek support for him in a door-to-door campaign.
Praising Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav for promising a Yadav regiment in the Army, Tej Bahadur said, “If I win from Varanasi, I will raise a voice for it in Parliament.”
In 2017, Tej Bahadur Yadav, then with BSF’s 29th battalion, posted four videos complaining about conditions soldiers work under and also the quality of food that was allegedly being served.
“We only get a ‘parantha’ and tea as breakfast and this is without any pickle or vegetables… we slog for 11 hours and at times we have to stand throughout the duty hours. For lunch, we get ‘dal’ (pulses) which only has ‘haldi’ (turmeric) and salt… with roti. This is the quality of the food we get… how can a jawan do his duty?
“I request the Prime Minister to get this probed… no one shows our plight,” Yadav had alleged.