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India's 'Spider-Man' pledges to use powers for good

By Mallika Kapur, CNN
updated 1:17 AM EDT, Thu April 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Independent candidate runs for seat in India's general election dressed as a superhero
  • Gaurav Sharma can scale a tall building in less than 20 minutes
  • Politician plans to tackle basic issues like education, water and power if elected

Mumbai, India (CNN) -- Forget going door-to-door, Gaurav Sharma, 31, campaigns from window-to-window. He's an independent candidate running for a seat in India's general election from South Mumbai.

Unlike the politicians he's up against, who wear traditional Indian clothes, Gaurav Sharma dresses like a man with extraordinary powers -- the Marvel superhero Spider-Man.

As he pops his head into a window after scaling a residential building, he asks startled residents to vote for him.

When asked if people take a candidate dressed up as a comic book character seriously, he sincerely says, that they do and they should. Because unlike the fictional superhero, Sharma has real guts, intense concentration and dedication. These are the qualities, he says, that enable him to scale a 45-story building in just 19 minutes.

"It takes a higher level of thinking and great organized thought," Sharma says, adding that a candidate needs these qualities to help the citizens of Mumbai.

After all, with great power comes great responsibility. Though Mumbai is India's financial capital and one of the wealthier cities in India, "people are still deprived of the basic necessities like water, electricity, schooling," he says. If he's elected, these are the basic issues he will tackle.

His election symbol is -- you got it -- a window. These symbols are a crucial part of India's election exercise. In a country where a large part of the population is illiterate, people cast their vote for a symbol rather than a candidate's name. It's a palm for the Congress party, a lotus for the Bharatiya Janata Party, a broom for the Aam Aadmi Party and a window for Sharma.

The friendly neighborhood Spider-Man says he hopes the public will grab the window of opportunity they have to bring about change in Mumbai. He hopes they'll take it and vote for him.

Will he win? That's still up in the air.

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