Kalawati Bandurkar, the 52-year-old widow made famous by Rahul Gandhi, is set to challenge the Congress in the coming Assembly elections in Maharashtra.
The Swatantra Bharat Party and Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti announced her as their candidate from Yavatmal district’s Wani for the October polls.
It was Gandhi who highlighted Kalawati’s struggle in Parliament last year. Gandhi told the House how she had been struggling to raise her nine children since the suicide of her husband in December 2005 in the face of crop failure and mounting debts.
After the speech, NGO Sulabh International offered her Rs 25,000 a month for 20 years. She repaid her husband’s loan and married off a daughter. Electricity came to her village.
But the rest of the region haven’t been so lucky. “The condition of farm widows has remained the same,” Kalawati told HT. “The government has failed to prevent more suicides. I will highlight these issues during my campaign.”