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Debt trap: Trinamool candidate in Goa in hiding

Goa,Politics, Fri, 30 Mar 2012 IANS

Panaji, March 30 (IANS) Hounded by creditors, a Trinamool Congress candidate who borrowed money to fund his campaign in the recently concluded Goa assembly elections is now in hiding as he fears being beaten up by recovery agents.

 

Kanta Sabaji Jadhav, 37, the Trinamool's candidate from the Pernem constituency in northern Goa, 40 km from here, has been hiding in a pay-per-bunk-per-day lodge in Panaji, waiting for the party to pay him the money he claims was promised as election expenses.

 

"I have not been able to go home at Korgao (also in Pernem constituency) since the elections (on March 3). I had purchased food, snacks and other things during elections on loan because the party had promised to pay for my campaign expenses," Jadhav, a garden contractor by profession, told IANS.

 

Details of the affidavit Jadhav had filed with the chief electoral officer indicate that he was one of the most economically backward candidates in this Goa election, peppered with high-spending millionaire candidates.

 

In his affidavit, Jadhav has listed total assets worth Rs.35,500 and liabilities of Rs.28,500, in the form of a loan from the Goa Khadi and Village Industries Board.

 

Amongst his creditors are the owner of a small hotel, where his workers were provided with food and refreshments, and a car-hire operator. And going back is impossible as they are threatening and badgering him for their money.

 

"I have absolutely no money to pay them. I owe them Rs.2 lakh plus. They are threatening to beat me up now. When I was given a ticket I was told that the Trinamool Congress was a national party and would pay for the expenses which I incur during the campaign," said Jadhav, who has studied only up to Class 8.

 

"Now I keep contacting the party office asking them to pay my creditors. They can verify the accounts and pay, but no one is listening. I even contacted the state party president," he said.

 

Unfortunately, the effort was in vain.

 

As one of the nine candidates from the Pernem consituecy reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates, Jadhav polled only 151 votes, which was 0.58 percent of the total vote share. The seat went to the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Rajendra Arlekar who got 16,406 votes and a vote share of 63.37 percent.

 

The party is clearly not interested in its losing candidate either.

 

Wilfred de Souza, the Goa state president of Mamata Banerjee's party, denied making any promise to Jadhav.

 

"I have never promised to pay any money; neither has the party unit here," de Souza said.

 

"The party cannot assure anyone of giving them money for elections. It is against the law," said de Souza, a former chief minister.

 

He added that he was aware that Jadhav was a "poor fellow" and would try to help him out.

 

Trinamool leader Maria Fernandes, who was overseeing the campaign in Goa, agreed and said Jadhav was fabricating stories.

 

"There is nothing like that... he is making up stories. He didn't have any people with him for campaigning. He could not do any work. Mamata Banerjee's party does not believe in corruption," Fernandes told IANS over phone from Kolkata.

 

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at mayabhushan.n@ians.in)

 


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