It is the aspiration of every political leader—to be able to retain faith of people in every election. Many of them largely fail and hence one sees new faces getting elected most of the times. But mention the name Chaudhary Prem Singh to a person in the city-state’s political corridor and he talks with a hint of envy. And why not? Congress leader Singh, a contestant from Ambedkar Nagar, has never lost an election since 1958, and his name is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest continuously elected representative.
“I joined the Congress in 1952 at the age of 20, and won council elections for the first time in 1958,” says 80-year-0ld Singh.
When asked if he has seen any change in the way elections are contested these days, Singh says, “Earlier it was very different; people used to gather in one area of the village and jointly announce who they would vote for. Now, one has to go to meet the father, son, daughter-in-law, children; otherwise they won’t vote for you and tell you that you never bothered to visit them.”
Singh says unlike earlier, people now ask why a particular work was not done, and when it will be completed. People will see if the person they elected hears them out after the polls are over or has become arrogant and unapproachable, he adds. Giving a piece of advice, Singh says, “I have always remained available to people in my 61-year-old political career. It is a 24x7 job. You do 10 works, but if you don’t do one, then credit of the 10 works done earlier becomes zero. One should have a will to serve the people.”
Singh says people who accept money from people to do their small works get voted out as fast as they are voted in.
To a question on how the party organisation has changed over the years, he says, “The organisation has grown tremendously over the years. I have been a Congressman all my life.”