Kalawati Bandurkar (52), a Vidarbha farmer’s widow made famous after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi mentioned her in Parliament, has officially pulled out of the poll race.
A weary Kalawati, who became a symbol of the agrarian crisis after her husband committed suicide, withdrew her nomination from the Wani Assembly constituency on Tuesday.
A resident of Jalka village in Yavatmal district, Kalawati (52) said: “I filed my nomination because several widows and farmers’ organisations wanted me to contest. I withdrew because I am unwell.”
However, Kishore Tiwari, of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, which was instrumental in getting her to file a nomination, said Kalawati was under pressure from the Congress and Sulabh International chief Bideshwar Pathak to withdraw.
Her son-in-law, Vasant Rajurkar, had also threatened to commit suicide if she contested.
The Samiti has now decided to field Babitai Bais of Hiwra village, whose husband too was a farmer who had committed suicide, from Wani.
“We want that this time a Vidarbha farmer’s widow is elected. It’s our way of paying tribute to the memory of the 7,000 debt-affected farmers who have ended their lives in Vidarbha in the last eight years. Of them, around 1,600 committed suicide in Yavatmal district alone,” Tiwari said.