Nanded Lok Sabha constituency in Maharashtra will witness an interesting battle in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. Here, an Ashok Chavan is fighting independently against Ashok Chavan of Congress. In a country where politicians are thought to be synonymous with corruption and being rich, the independent Ashok Chavan lives in a small hamlet named Nandu Tanda, which is approximately 55-km from Nanded city.
Most of the homes in Nandu Tanda are occupied by the Nomadic Banjara tribals. Ashok Chavan lives under the shade with squats brick home in a very remote area from the main state highway.
The independent candidate has listed his and his wife's occupation as 'labourer' and he doesn't even have a single piece of land in his name either. The property which he has declared in his election affidavit is a home, a truck and a bike with both the vehicles procured on loans. He has also declared cash of Rs 15,000 in his two separate bank accounts.
Chavan and his wife Lakshmibai have shown their income as nil in income tax returns filed for the last five years. Ashok Chavan says he is the follower of Maharashtra former chief minister Vasantrao Naik, who belonged to the Banjara community.
While Speaking to ANI, independent candidate Ashok Chavan said: "Democracy has given me the right to contest Lok Sabha election. I had contested in Gram Panchayat elections too earlier. My father was deputy Sarpanch of this village." "My people wanted me to contest this election. We have approximately two lakh people from Banjara community all over Nanded and they wanted me to represent them," he said.
He insisted that his candidature is not against any political party. "My candidature is not against anyone or any party. I don't want to harm anybody. Matching of my name with Congress leader Ashok Chavan is just a coincidence," he says.
Maharashtra Congress chief Ashok Chavan is contesting from this seat, which he won in 2014 Lok Sabha elections after defeating BJP candidate DB Patil. BJP has fielded Pratap Patil Chikhlikar from this seat. A total of 14 independent candidates are contesting from Nanded this time.
Nanded will be voting for the Lok Sabha polls on April 18. EVM will have two names identical but the symbol allotted to independent candidate Chavan is an hourglass.
(With inputs from agencies.)