BARIPADA: At 26, she is the youngest woman candidate for Moroda Assembly constituency. Meet Hemasmita Naik, a golden grass artisan who is on a mission to improve the life of the poverty-stricken, underprivileged and deprived.
For Hemasmita, a party symbol holds little significance. “One who wishes to serve people does not need the backing of any political party. Determination and dedication is what is required to take up the cause of the marginalised sections of the society,” she said.
Hemasmita, a graduate from Baripada College, has filed nominations as an Independent candidate for the unreserved seat. A native of Andharisola village under Fania panchayat in Morada, she hopes to draw attention to ‘Bhanja Purana’, a backward community of the region, if voted to power. The community has been deprived of Government benefits and is living in miserable condition, she said.
“Though elections are held every five years, the fate of those living below poverty line has not changed for the better as yet. Successive Governments have not been able to improve their living standards despite launching several welfare schemes,” she said.
The benefits of various Government schemes for housing, drinking water, healthcare facilities, old-age pension and education are not reaching the people. “The plight of the poor is still unchanged. Moved by their sufferings, I decided to fight the elections. If I win, I will work towards improving their conditions,” said Hemasmita.
She also complained that Government officials are not sincere in implementing the schemes. “People coming from far-flung areas to seek Government benefits are often harassed by the district officials. This attitude of Government employees towards the poor needs to change,” Hemasmita said.
Associated with a local self-help group comprising artisans who earn their livelihood by making and selling golden grass craft, Hemasmita’s father Chandaneswar Naik is serving as a cluster resource centre coordinator at Kanimahuli while her mother Kumudini is a housewife.
Hemasmita had fought in the last three-tier panchayat polls as Zilla Parishad member as an Independent candidate and secured 7,775 votes.