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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Only a poor person can understand the plight of other poverty-stricken people from the lower rungs of the society, says Kartik Rao, a Sarpanch candidate in Kakatpur Gram Panchayat under Puri district.

Incidentally, Rao, who had relocated from Ganjam years back to Kakatpur, is a cobbler who mends shoes of other people to eke out a living.

As per reports, the man does not possess any property in his name. In fact, after running from pillar to post for a land or house under any of the several government schemes launched for the poor, all he could get was assurance and nothing else.

Dejected by the treatment of authorities, Rao decided to contest for the position of Sarpanch in the Panchayat elections so that people like him do not suffer any more under the guise of red-tapism. Rao said, “I want to take forward and amplify the voice of the poor who are ever neglected in our society.”

Speaking to OTV about his daily routine, Rao said, “I need money to feed my family. So, I mend shoes till 2 pm in the afternoon and then after lunch, I go out for door-to-door campaigning until late in the evening.”

election, the same process repeats. Candidates come knocking at your door, give some money to the voters like alms, distribute booze, throw feasts and will completely forget them after winning. I want to change this vicious circle,” he asserted.

Rao's wife, who not only manages all the household chores, also accompanies him during his campaign trail, said, “We are poor people and we understand the hardships people like us endure to survive in this society. I am sure my husband will win this election and do everything to uplift the standard of living of the poor in this Panchayat."

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