Money no constraint in Bengal's electoral battle By Sudipto Chowdhury

·3-min read

Kolkata, Mar 22 (PTI) Meet Manas Sardar, Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP) candidate for Purulia assembly constituency, who has borrowed Rs 30,000 from his friends to contest the election as he believes his constituency has been neglected for too long and needs an MLA who can deliver.

Sardar's assets according to the affidavit submitted to the Election Commission shows the 30-year-old has an unbelievable 'zero' value in moveable and immovable assets.

'I have nothing. I am a devoted party activist and a social worker. My sole aim is to develop our area. I am fighting the election for the first time and for this I have borrowed Rs 30,000 from my friends. I will return the money in installments,' Sardar told PTI when contacted.

Stating that he had to convince seniors in the party to give him a ticket to fight the election in Purulia assembly constituency, Sardar said he was confident of winning despite 'feeling the pinch in pocket.' 'Purulia has been neglected by all political parties and there has been no development. Drinking water, proper sanitation have long been a problem here. I will work for overall development ... I am getting a good response from the people,' he said.

His party colleague Anadi Tudu, who also has reported 'zero assets', is contesting the election from Balarampur also in Purulia district.

Talking to PTI from her constituency, the 52-year-old Tudu said 'Money cannot stop you from achieving dreams to do good for the people.

'I want to work for my people in Balarampur. Nobody has done anything for us. I will work with the people to develop the area,' she said.

SUCI(C) candidates Dipak Kumar and Bhagirathi Mahato - contesting in Balarampur and Joypur assembly constituencies -- also declared zero asset in their affidavit.

Kumar, who fought the 2016 assembly elections but lost, said that the strength of his party has 'increased massively' and people are eager to vote the two to power.

'There is no employment. The ruling Trinamool Congress is only talking big. People have understood what they need.

There is good response from them,' Kumar said.

Among candidates with assets worth just Rs 500 are Rajib Mudi and Swapan Kumar Murmu from SUCI(C). They will be fighting for Binpur(ST) in Jhargram district and Manzbazar(ST) assembly seat in Purulia respectively.

Another candidate with low asset base is CPI's Saikat Giri. He has declared assets of just Rs 2000 and is contesting the election from Purba Mednipur's Patashpur assembly constituency.

'I can feel the difference because I hardly have money. Both BJP and the TMC are spending huge amounts in this election compared to which we are spending almost nothing. But we have deep rooted connections with common people. They know what is our motto.

'People in Patashpur are tired of corruption. They are questioning why youth are jobless, what has happened to Amphan relief money we are working for the cause of the people of Patashpur. We want to set up a women's college here, develop the infrastructure,' Giri said.

The first phase of the elections in West Bengal are scheduled in 30 assembly constituencies in five districts of Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, Purba Medinipur (Part 1) and Paschim Medinipur (Part 1) on March 27. PTI SCH JRC JRC