Making a dramatic U-turn, disenchanted farmer widow Kalawati Bandurkar has decided to exit the poll fray.
“I’ve decided not to contest the assembly elections,” Bandurkar, 52, told HT over telephone from Jhalka village in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district, 750 km east of Mumbai.
“She is under considerable stress. So, we will not force her to contest,” said Kishore Tiwari of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti, the farmers’ group instrumental for her nomination.
Tiwari said owing to pressure from different quarters, particularly from Congress leaders in the state, the organisation had now decided to field Baby Chhattarsingh Bais (45), another farm widow from the district, from Wani constituency.
Within 24 hours of filing her nomination, Bandurkar decided to pull out of the race.
According to reports reaching here, her family members pressured her not to contest.
Bandurkar’s son-in-law, Vasanta Rajurkar of Dokiwahi village, even went to the extent of threatening her with suicide.
Rajurkar reportedly said he would swallow pesticide if she contested against the ruling Congress-NCP coalition.
Bandurkar first made headlines last year when Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi referred to her during the N-deal debate in Parliament. Her husband Parashuram, a debt-ridden farmer, committed suicide, leaving her to feed nine mouths and repay a loan worth Rs 1 lakh.
Last week she was back in the news when she announced she would contest against the Congress-NCP coalition to highlight the plight of farmers and farm widows in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region.