Army to politics, Singh continues fight for country

Exactly five years ago, when NSG commando Surinder Singh left his wife and newborn to rescue those trapped in Taj Mahal Palace hotel during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, he knew that he probably would not survive.

"Nobody can ever know what it felt like to be airdropped on the roof of that hotel, not knowing what would happen next," he says.

Now, an Aam Admi Party candidate in the Delhi Cantonment constituency, Singh is fighting in a different arena, with different rules and different weapons. He is up against BJP's sitting MLA Karan Singh Tanwar, who beat Congress in the 2008 Assembly elections by 7,261 votes, and Congress candidate Ashok Kumar Jain.

"It won't be easy. But difficulties and obstacles are something that I'm used to," Singh says.

On Tuesday, the fifth anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, Singh began the day with a door-to-door campaign at Sadar Bazaar. Throughout the day, the same question came up repeatedly: Why join the AAP after leaving the Army?

His answer too remained the same, "When I was in the Army, I believed I was fighting for something meaningful. But after my injury, I realised that the country had been ripped apart by corrupt politicians and I wanted to do something," he says.

Surinder Singh's hearing aid, which he often touches absent mindedly while answering questions, is a grim reminder of this transition. On the seventh floor of the hotel, a grenade had exploded right next to him, injuring him and rendering him deaf in one ear.

When he went back to his village Jhajhar in Haryana, he realised that life had changed. "I received no pension and no one came to my help. No politician cared, until I wrote to Arvind Kejriwal. He helped me. I want to continue on those lines," Singh says.

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