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Mrunal Manmay Dash

When there is a will there is a way. While this is a very common saying, but pretty effective if looked through the lenses of these three men and women who dared to go against the tide to emerge victorious in the recently concluded civic polls in Odisha and become corporators and councilors.

22-year-old Damayanti Majhi, who has won the corporator seat from Ward number 49 under the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) had lost her father five years ago. Her mother is a daily wager and the family lives in a ramshackle shack at the Balisahi slum in Cuttack. No cooking gas, no electricity, no concrete roof above the head, Damayanti manifests the poverty in Odisha.

However, her zeal for study and become an educated woman could not halt her march and she ended up joining the Ravenshaw University in the Silk City where she pursued her MCom, but not before deciding to join politics by contending for the corporator position.

When OTV visited her ‘home’ following her win, she was seen cooking rice with a clay stove (Chulha). “I come from a very poor family and I would like to uplift the standard of living of youths living in my Ward,” she said.

Damayanti has been projected as the primary contender for the position of Deputy Mayor of Cuttack.

Similarly, Sumitra Bastia from Ward number 29 in CMC has made it her mission to serve the poor. The bicycle which she rides every day to take the grievances of the poor in her Ward to the concerned government departments, is her only prized possession.

When asked about the efforts she put in to win the election, Bastia said, “It is entirely possible to win election without money. You just need to have your goodwill with you. No money can fetch you the results if you do not have the blessings of the voters.”

In Jagatsinghpur, a beetle shop owner, Debasish Swain not only won the councillor position in Ward number 17 but he defeated candidates of all three major political parties. His victory, despite money power and campaigns by Odisha Ministers and MLAs, has earned him a name in the region.

However, he will not stop selling paan in his shop, Swain said.

“I will serve people as per my capability. Nobody can stop me from discharging my duties. The blessings of people are with me,” he said.

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