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Independent candidate slams big two parties for ignoring significant minority

DNIS News Network -- Disability rights activists have branded as insensitive the political manifestos of the BJP and Congress parties.

India has more than 50 million households affected by disability but politicians have ignored the needs of both physically and mentally disabled people when formulating policies for the future.

Javed Abidi, a well-known disability rights activist and convener of the advocacy organisation Disability Rights Group, filed his nomination papers for the New Delhi constituency, the current seat of BJP Union Minister Jagmohan. He said he had been persuaded to stand by other members of the group, in an attempt to get the voices of this significant minority heard in the corridors of power.

He pointed out that the BJP manifesto seemed to specifically exclude disabled people from its plans, with a section entitled Our Vision for an Ideal Village which promised full employment for all "able-bodied" people. "It is disappointing but we should not give up hope," said Abidi, who sees his campaign as a means of mobilising disabled people into a political force.