Bhubaneswar/Rayagada: Poor but determined! When major political parties in Odisha went full throttle during the 2019 polls, one of the poorest and that too an independent candidate, Makarand Muduli upended equations by thrashing some heavyweights in the Rayagada Assembly constituency of Odisha.
Backed by loyalists and a strong following among tribal communities, Muduli conducted door-to-door campaigning to reach out to voters while his counterparts in the BJD, BJP and Congress relied heavily on their star campaigners.
"I contested the elections on the money collected by people. They collected money for my campaign... Their support helped me win the seat. My victory has opened a new path in this democratic festival," said Muduli.
Muduli is loved by people for his humble and down-to-earth nature and is also tagged as 'people's leader' by locals. "I had been praying for his (Makarand Muduli) victory and God listened to my prayers. After 70 years, someone from our tribe has been elected and it will help us raise our voice in the State Assembly," said a resident of Rayagada, Prabhati Jhodia.
Muduli had been a student leader but he took the path to active politics only in 2000. He unsuccessfully contested from Laxmipur Assembly seat in Koraput district in 2000 and 2004 general elections on Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket. Later, he joined Congress in 2014 and contested from Rayagada Assembly constituency against Himirika.