Panchayat polls: Bereft of funds, Independent candidates in Jagatsinghpur opt for ‘crowdsourcing’

Villagers too have come out in support of Ashok.

Published: 10th February 2022 08:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2022 08:20 AM   |  A+A-

Ashok seeking donation from villagers. (File photo)

Ashok seeking donation from villagers. (File photo)

By Express News Service

JAGATSINGHPUR/SAMBALPUR: Though candidates backed by political parties are spending recklessly for canvassing to garner votes, the Independents are resorting to crowdsourcing of a different kind for their election campaigns. 

For 55-year-old Ashok Moharana, an Independent sarpanch candidate in Kantilo panchayat of Jagatsinghpur block, money contributed by voters was the last resort to intensify his campaign after being denied a party ticket by the BJD. A poor farmer with a family of five to fend for, Ashok was elected as samiti member from the panchayat from 2012-2017 as a ruling party candidate. This time too, he hoped to get a BJD ticket as sarpanch candidate but was reportedly ignored by local MLA Prasant Muduli. As other parties had already fielded their own candidates, Ashok decided to enter the poll fray as an Independent. 

Since he neither had support of any party nor enough funds for campaigning, he asked for money from voters, sources said. His supporters are now going door-to-door raising funds. Ashok is determined to fight corruption at grassroots level and ensure outreach of government schemes to all beneficiaries.

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Villagers too have come out in support of Ashok. “Most elected representatives spend lakhs towards campaigns, arrange meat and liquor for votes. We have decided to select a sarpanch who will be free from corruption. Ashok is from a humble background and seems to be the ideal candidate. If he wins from our contribution, the panchayat will benefit,” said Sesadev Nanda.

“ I had targeted to generate around Rs 50,000-Rs 70,000 for election expenditure and managed to collect Rs 20,000 from voters till now. If I win, I will do my best to root out corruption and injustice,” said Ashok.
In Sambalpur district, a woman candidate for the samiti member post from Naktideul panchayat is also seen adopting a similar way to fight the election. Sunita Sahu of Jagannath Prasad village is going  door-to-door with a vessel and a placard with her election symbol ‘stool’ begging and seeking financial support from people to use it in the election. 

The post of panchayat samiti member from Naktideul GP under Rairakhol sub-division is reserved for women this time. Asked why she chose to seek donation from voters for the campaign, Sunita said,”I want to assure people that unlike other candidates, I can never demand money for their work  if I win the election as I will anyway be indebted to them for their contribution.” Sunita has collected Rs 22,000 from people so far.
 



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