Chandana Bauri, a BJP candidate for Saltora Assembly seat in West Bengal's Bankura is reportedly one of the poorest nominees in the poll race, living in a mud house with no proper toilet facility and running water in her house.
The resident of Kelai village in Gangajalghati block, Bauri and her family own three goats, three cows and ₹31, 985 in cash and deposits by way of assets. Her husband is a mason, who works as a daily wager earning ₹400 every day.
When there is a labour crunch during the monsoon season, Chandana works as a helper with him. Both are MGNREGA cardholders. With the help of the first instalment of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin of ₹60,000, Bauri built two concrete rooms. To relieve themselves, the family has to walk to the nearby field as building a toilet at home has still been a far-fetching dream for them, The Indian Express reported,
Although Bauri is a senior district BJP member, the ticket is a big step for the 30-year-old who works relentlessly on her duties. She leaves her house by 8:00 am every day, wearing a saffron sari covered in Lotus print for campaigning. She often takes her son along.
Despite handling all the household chores, from cooking to fetching drinking water and helping children in their study, she takes out time for the party work. Bauri says that the family had adapted well to her new role. Her in-laws take care of the children now while she is out campaigning.
Speaking about the opposition party, Bauri calls it corrupt and that they have misused the money for welfare schemes.
"Trinamool is corrupt. It has not done any development work and pocketed all the money that Modiji sent for welfare schemes. From toilet to house schemes, people have to cut money to Trinamool men," the media quoted Bauri as saying.
Saltora is a constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes and was won by the Trinamool's Swapan Barui twice, by a margin of over 10,000 votes. This time, the party has a new candidate, Santosh Kumar Mandal.
Bauri came to know about her nomination on March 8 from locals, who saw the news on television. "Ami gorib ghorer meye (I come from a low-income family). By nominating me, the BJP has shown that financial status is not important to become a leader," Bauri says.
Husband Sraban had entered politics before. But he faced harassment from Trinamool workers after the party came to power in 2011, after which the family came out in support of the BJP. Bauri became the general secretary of the Mahila Morcha of the Uttar Gangajalghati Mondol in 2016 and then one of Bankura district's general secretaries. She has completed secondary education.