The face of deprivation made famous by Rahul Gandhi — Kalawati Bandurkar (52) — on Friday, filed her nomination papers from Wani constituency in Yavatmal district, on a low note.
She was admitted to the Pandharkawda Civil Hospital after she complained of chest pain on Thursday evening.
“She is under considerable mental stress. That is why we admitted her to hospital,” said Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti. She has filed her papers as an independent. But whether she will contest the elections or not will depend on her health.
“I am not well. But I filed the nomination because of peoples’ aspirations and hope that I should contest the ensuing elections,” a reluctant and frail Kalawati said.
Kalawati’s husband Parashuram, a debt-ridden farmer, had committed suicide due to crop failure and mounting debts in Jalka village. Kalawati was left to feed her nine children and repay Rs 1 lakh loan. But it was this tragedy, which had Rahul Gandhi calling at her doorstep and making an impassioned speech referring to her in Parliament.
After Gandhi’s reference to her in his debate in Parliament, Kalawati was again in the news last week when she announced her decision to contest the elections against the ruling Congress-NCP coalition to highlight the plights of farmers and farm widows in the region. She had said that being a Republican Left Democratic Front (RLDF) candidate, she would also campaign for the “third front” in the elections.
While help rushed to her doorstep, Kalawati said, “The condition of other farm widows remains the same in the region. And to highlight the plight of those poor widows and agrarian crisis, I have decided to contest,” says Kalawati.
Twelve more farmers ended their lives in Vidarbha region in the last 72 hours, nine from Yavatmal. With the toll of these deaths, the figure has touched to 55 this month while it was 48 last month.