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The Poorest Candidate in Chhattisgarh Elections With Assets Worth Rs 1,200 is Taking on CM Raman Singh

37-year-old Pratima Wasnik is the poorest candidate in these elections. Her affidavit says she has just Rs 1,200 movable assets and Rs 20,000 as election funds.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:November 6, 2018, 5:32 PM IST
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The Poorest Candidate in Chhattisgarh Elections With Assets Worth Rs 1,200 is Taking on CM Raman Singh
Pratima is a Republican Paksha (Khoripa) nominee who challenging the high and the mighty. Her aim, she says, is to start a discourse on BR Ambedkar through her campaigns in the poll-bound state.
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New Delhi: It was being touted to be a high profile battle between the incumbent chief minister and former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s niece. But a third candidate with meagre resource and still meagre political experience is drawing everyone’s attention in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon where Raman Singh is pitted against Vajpayee’s niece Karuna Shukla.

37-year-old Pratima Wasnik is the poorest candidate in these elections. Her affidavit says she has just Rs 1,200 movable assets and Rs 20,000 as election funds, according to the data given by the Association for Democratic Reforms.

Pratima is a Republican Paksha (Khoripa) nominee who challenging the high and the mighty. Her aim, she says, is to start a discourse on BR Ambedkar through her campaigns in the poll-bound state.

According to the affidavit file before the returning officer, CM Singh has claimed his assets to be worth Rs 10. 72 crore. Congress candidate Shukla in her asset declaration form claims she owns assets of around Rs 3 crore.

Short of funds, she is relying more on door-to-door campaign which she started more than a month back. Married to Santosh Wasnik, a cook, she has a school-going son and has decided to enter politics to “change the society.”

“Shikshit bano, sangathit raho, sangharsh karo (get educated, united and struggle for rights)”- this is her slogan as she goes about attempting to convince the electorate to vote for her.

What she is fighting for is ease in getting the identity proof for SC/ST/OBC, employment opportunities, reservation in private sector through an economic policy, improvement of roads and water and electricity, MSP of Rs 2,000 on per quintal of wheat etc.

"We all can see what’s happening with the SC/ST community, it is the time to start a social awakening for larger goals. There is no sign of Ambedkar here, this should change after this election,” Pratima told News18.

Some pockets in Chhattisgarh have been a base to powerful Ambedkarite movements. The Schedule Caste satnami community is numerically effective and politically mobilized to influence electoral outcome in these areas.

BSP leader Kanshi Ram contested his first LS elections from Janjhgir in Chhattisgarh. BSP has polled 5% or more votes in the state in the last three elections.

Pratima, however, refuses to comment on the coming together of Ajit Jogi, Mayawati and the CPI for the assembly polls. “It is their politics not mine, they are doing what they think is right. I have nothing to say on this coalition,” she says.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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