Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Apr 1:
At a time when other candidates in the Odisha election fray are flaunting wealth amounting to crores, it is hard to believe that there could be a candidate with ‘zero’ assets. But that is precisely what Jagabandhu Godangi is – a candidate with ‘zero’ assets – which easily makes him the poorest candidate in this election. The affidavit filed by him with the nomination form has “Nil” written against the columns meant for moveable and immovable assets.
Interestingly, the 34-year old Godangi, who is contesting the election from Chitrakonda Assembly constituency on a Samruddha Odisha ticket, firmly believes the absence of assets would not be a liability but an ‘asset’ for him in winning the elections.
“Every village I visit, people support me. I belong to the Bhumiya community and there are around 30,000 people from the community to look out for me,” he asserts.
The poorest candidate has also put ‘None’ in the column meant for criminal cases. He has appeared in the HSC examination in 2010.
Interestingly, while other candidates have reported significant additions to their assets since the last election in 2009, Godangi has apparently taken the reverse path and shed whatever wealth he had then.
When he contested the last election, from the same constituency as a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate, his declared assets included Rs 1 lakh in cash, a Hero Honda Splendour bike, eight acre land valued at Rs 80,000 and another six cent landed property.
How he managed to lose all these assets in the five years since then remains a mystery. It is possible though that he lost all his assets in contesting the election last time.
Godangi had polled 4496 votes in 2009 while the winner secured over 22,800 votes.
In 2007, he was elected Sarpanch of Podaghata GP in Khairput block. He tried his luck to become a Samiti member in 2011 panchayat election but in vain.
This time, 13 candidates, including candidates fielded by the three major political parties – Congress, BJP and BJD – are in the fray