An independent candidate from the Indian state of Punjab managed to make himself known around the world after a video of him crying and telling a reporter that he only received 5 votes in the recent Indian general elections despite having 9 family members went viral on social media.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a resounding victory in India’s general elections, which ended last week after some 600 million people across the country cast their vote. But another important thing happened: Neetu Shutteran Wala, a relatively unknown politician who ran as independent in the city of Jalandhar, had a meteoric rise to meme status. In an interview with a local reporter, Shutteran Wala broke down in tears as he revealed that despite having nine family members, he had only received five votes. Asked if that meant that not even his family voted for him, the emotional politician said that he doesn’t blame his relatives, but election fraud.
Shutteran Wala’s explanation did little to stop the clip from spreading on the internet like wildfire. It was featured by most major news websites in India and eventually went viral internationally. There was something about a crying 35-year-old man who made it seem like his own family members hadn’t voted for him that people found irresistible.
As it turns out, his family had voted for him (probably) as the final tally of the votes revealed that Neetu Shutteran Wala got a whopping 856 votes, which is not that bad for an independent, let alone one who, according to India’s election commission website, is illiterate. India Today reports that the overzealous reporter interviewed Shutteran Wala while the votes were still being counted, so there is a possibility that at the time he only had five votes.
Still, the man’s family felt obligated to issue a public statement confirming their support:
“He has complete support from the family and everyone, including our uncles and the extended family, has voted for him,” Shutteran Wala’s brother told Menxp.
Neetu Shutteran Wala may not have won a seat on the Jalandhar city council, but he certainly didn’t come out of the elections empty-handed. He will now live forever online, as a meme.