Mayoral candidate drew up manifesto while homeless and living in Hackney hostel
PUBLISHED: 12:04 04 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:24 04 May 2016
Emma Bartholomew catches up with Ankit Love, the man who's £11,000 in debt because he chose to stand in tomorrow's Mayor of London elections... and can't even vote for himself
Ankit Love is feeling “neglected”. He’s got himself £10,000 in debt putting up the money to register to run for London Mayor, which he will only recover if he picks up five per cent of the vote.
But still barely anyone has ever heard of him, because he couldn’t afford another £10,000 to be included in the mini manifesto handbook along with the other 11 candidates.
On top of this, national papers like The Guardian have ignored him in their election coverage, despite his eco-agenda being remarkably similar to their own.
His One Love party, which currently has four members, is calling for a ban on all fossil-fuel combustion vehicles in London to combat the 9,500 premature deaths annually as a result of air pollution, and to legalise cannabis.
"People here probably think it’s a joke but it’s my actual name"
As he reclines on a sofa in Haggerston’s trendy TripSpace café, dressed “revolutionary style” with a long black leather coat, and black beret, the 32-year old exiled Emperor of Jammu and Kashmir confides he is “offended” the left-wing rag has interviewed the Polish Prince, Zylinksi, and not him.
“His only policy is to ban Nigel Farage from London. They haven’t got back to us and I don’t know why,” he complains. “How can I talk to six million people? If I could knock on every door I would, we actually did that for the nominations, all over the city, rain or shine - but in one month I can’t do that.”
I get the impression he really would, so impassioned is the youngest ever person to stand as Mayor with his fight for social justice.
A former pop star, Ankit Love jacked in his job as director of BRIC+ magazine and vacated his luxury flat in Belgravia to move into the Dictionary Hostel in Kingsland Road to follow his political vision.
Here – in the 16-bed room - the eco-warrior drew up the One Love party’s policy.
“Right here in Hackney this vision comes from, no where else, and I’m willing to give up my fab lifestyle because I believe in it,” he laughed.
“It’s the cutting edge of thought, maybe in the city and maybe in the world.”
He’s currently “living the housing crisis”, paying £600 a month for a small room with no central heating or windows in a music rehearsal studio off Hackney Road, and he can’t even vote for himself tomorrow because it’s not classed as residential accommodation.
With both parents Supreme Court lawyers in India, he’s done his research and believes it could be legal to ban polluting cars from the city.
But despite Holland passing a law to ban all petrol and diesel cars by 2025, he feels no one is taking him seriously.
“They say ‘this guy wants to ban cars and he’s calling on the army to do a coup’, you’ve got to understand that’s not the sophisticated angle,” he said.
“I want to stop air pollution, we are in a crisis, people take the sensationalist stuff and mock me.
“The air is your first fundamental human right, the kids who live on the most polluted streets are from poorer families. Who drives the most polluting cars? wealthier people, so there is a great social injustice to this.
“Why are our troops in Syria fighting to preserve our oil and gas rights, bringing the same oil and gas back which ends up killing our own people, it’s madness.”
He continued: “It’s a failed society if we can’t get it right, especially if we know there’s an alternative. I feel I have the strongest point, I could run the city really well.”
One of the reasons he thinks they’ve been “ridiculed” is because of the party’s name – but he protests it is his real name, given to him by his mother, “in the hope he could bring peace and love” to the war-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“If they carried my story and young people heard about me, maybe more people would turn out to vote,” he said.
“But win or lose we know we are still fighting for the right causes.”