‘Dhartipakad’ is bedridden but still wants to ‘serve’ Bihar
An indefatigable man, who has fought a record 278 elections — from local body to presidential polls — wants to try his luck at the hustings one last time.
Nagarmal Bajoria, 77, better known as “Dhartipakad” because of his longstanding obsession of joining poll battles regardless of their outcome, is bedridden at his Bhagalpur home. Still he is undaunted. “It is my fervent wish to contest elections at least one more time. I will certainly do it if I am alive,” he said.
While his health has been a cause of concern for his family, they also want him to contest. “If his health permits, he will certainly contest,” said Vijay Kumar, his eldest son and a trader by profession. In fact, the family believes that with polls due in Bihar later this year, Bajoria will be back on his feet to try his luck again.
Bajoria’s health started deteriorating after he faced some reverses in business. “A cable- manufacturing factory he set up at Bhagalpur’s Barari incurred heavy losses,” Vijay said. “Since then his health started failing.” His obsession with polls began nearly four decades ago when he contested the parliamentary elections against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Since then, he has fought against many political heavyweights from high- profile constituencies such as Amethi, Rae Bareli, Lucknow and Jammu.
In his colourful political career, Bajoria may have lost security deposits in almost all the polls he contested but that did not deter him from contesting again. “It was my way of serving society,” he said. Because of his never- say- die spirit, he soon earned the sobriquet of “Dhartipakad” — somebody who clings on to his ground.
He was one three people who earned the nickname for similar efforts — the others being Kaka Joginder Singh from New Delhi and Mohan Lal from Bhopal. Bajoria claims to be listed in the Guinness World Records for contesting elections the most times.
But it was not his obsession with polls that endeared him to his family, friends and the people of Bhagalpur. It was his exemplary social work, they said. “He was instrumental in organising mass weddings for hundreds of poor girls,” Vijay said. His family estimates he has helped solemnise the marriages of more than 1,000 poor girls, including 108 from Nepal.
“He either spent his own money or roped in some charitable organisation. Social work has been his passion all his life,” Vijay said. In keeping with his mission, he had installed several hand pumps in different areas of his hometown. It was his social work that his family is proud of, they said.
“My father’s obsession to contest polls never irked us,” his eldest son said. “He often told us it was part of his social work.” “I want to serve the people the way I have always done,” Bajoria said this week.