AAP candidate KC Mardi (fourth from left) with supporters during a campaign at Khasmahal on Thursday. (Animesh Sengupta)
Aam Aadmi Party’s Jamshedpur hopeful Kumar Chandra Mardi might not have a heavy wallet, but that is not deterring him from criss-crossing the city to woo voters with broom in hand.
The 61-year-old, who is banking on sympathisers, stands apart in an age where money power often fuels poll victories.
Mardi, a social worker hailing from Potka’s Gogda village, said he had already campaigned in Jamshedpur, Karandih, Salgajuri, Barinagar (Telco), Jugsalai and areas near his native place.
“Janta meri poonji hain. Chunav mein paise ka khel ko jharu lagane aaya hun (People are my capital. I have come to use the broom to sweep out money politics),” he said in typical Arvind Kejriwal style, adding that he was having “maar bhaat (starch rice)” to beat the heat on campaign trail.
His assets, according to the affidavit submitted at the time of filing nomination papers on March 26, include Rs 50,000 cash, a motorbike and a plot of land at his ancestral village.
“The cash has been spent on printing banners and posters, fuel and other expenses. Currently, I am penniless. My fans and supporters are taking care of the expenses incurred during my campaign in Jamshedpur and rural pockets,” he added.
Mardi revealed that his supporters took care of fuel and food expenses. “One of them even paid for the repair of my bike. Paise nahin hain par logo ko muj par vishwas hain. Log jante hain ki main bhrastachar khatam karne ke liye is chunav mein khada hu (I am penniless but people believe in me. They know that I am fighting the elections to wipe out corruption,” Mardi, a graduate who lives in a rented house at Karandih, said.
Mardi had also returned the armed bodyguard offered by the district administration to candidates. “Mujhe angrakshak ki kya jaroorat hain. Janta ke beech mein rahta hun. Jab marne ka samay aayega to koi bacha nahin payega. (I do not need a bodyguard. I live with the people. No one will be able to save me when the end comes),” he added.
Asked if his party sent him funds, Mardi replied in the negative. “AAP ke pas paise kahan hain. Hum punjipatiyon ki party thode hai (My party has no funds. We are not a party of capitalists),” he said, adding he had requested Arvind Kejriwal to visit the steel city for a campaign.
On why he chose AAP, Mardi said the party had introduced alternate politics to the country. “We are fighting a battle for the people,” he added.
The social worker has earlier raised his voice against flaws in the education system and displacement due to Subernarekha multipurpose project.