Afternoon Voice spoke to Anil More the Chaiwala (tea-seller) from Baramati, Maharashtra who recently came in the news for sending a money order of Rs 100 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shave off his beard.
More says that due to the lockdown people had suffered, even though he was out of work and had to survive on black tea for many days. His agony and restlessness for the people had prompted him to do so.
When asked how he managed the PM’s postal address, he said the post office staff helped him.
We asked him why he was mocking the PM’s beard, Anil clarified that it was not his intent to insult or offend the Prime Minister but to inform him of the plight of the poor during this pandemic. He said, “I respect the PM but to seek attention towards my appeals I added this point which went viral.” Anil More said the PM should focus on solving people’s problems.
In reply to his political affiliation, he said “All the political parties are the same, I am not here to play politics but here to talk for the people. I am an active member of Republican Yuva Morcha, Maharashtra and working with its state head Rahul Dambale.”
When contacted Rahul Dambale, he said, “PM Modi always emphasized that he is a people’s leader hence, Anil More through his letter to PM has voiced the common man’s problems and requested him for immediate aid for the poor and to ensure proper health facilities. BJP’s IT cell and their members are portraying an image of India and Modi as if everything is normal and nobody is suffering, I request PM Modi to come out of this IT cell and see the reality of the country and the common man, rather than living in a fairyland.”
While commenting on Republican Yuva Morcha’s registration Dambale said, “We are very much active in politics, we contest in elections. We are associated with secular ideology and political parties like NCP and Congress.”
Anil More the Chaiwala is an active member of Republican Yuva Morcha, which is affiliated to Congress-NCP, coincidentally More is from Baramati, which is the NCP supremo’s constituency and fortress. When More’s news went viral, there were speculations that the entire event was politically motivated.
Our Editor-in-Chief Vaidehi Taman had a brief interview with Anil More to understand the motive behind his letter and act of sending a money order to the PM, it follows as:
How did you feel when your news went viral?
I am feeling honoured and really thankful to the entire media, news channels, newspapers and social media for making my voice reach the Prime Minister.
What made you think that sending the letter to the PM with money suddenly?
I am a simple tea shop owner. There is no food to cook for four or five days in my household. We all had black tea and slept. This experience made me think about what the other crores of poor people who also are seeing such a difficult time must be going through. They all have no employment and survival must be very tough for them too.
Why did you not send this to the Chief Minister or local political leaders?
All welfare, health care and vaccination matters are being addressed on a national level. In my letter to the Prime Minister, I have requested that please don’t become a saint. Focus on citizens of his country and instead of growing your beard, increase vaccinations, increase health care facilities, increase food supply to the hungry people. I have made such a request to him. If I would have just sent only the letter, it wouldn’t have been acknowledged so quickly. That is why I sent a hundred rupees money order to the PM. Today I am very grateful to all the media as due to them a common citizen’s request has reached the Prime Minister.
If you want to send anything to the Maharashtra Government or your regional politicians, what would be that?
I will state the same requests to them too. Citizens’ needs are genuine and they need to support us people. We require support and they, being political representatives, should help us as we are in dire situations.
What are your interests beyond tea-selling and citizen’s representation?
By profession, I am a tea-seller and I have always been inclined towards social work. Presently I am working with Republican Yuva Morcha and we take up various public concerns.