When most of the candidates are spending a huge amount to secure a win, Mangal Kisku from Santal community joined the national elections from Naogaon-1 (Porsha, Sapahar and Niamatpur) constituency with almost empty hand.
With a companion on the passenger seat, he drives a motorcycle to visit his constituency. He himself hangs his posters and distributes leaflets as he has lesser workforce than his competitors.
Kisku, a candidate of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) has, however, no hope of winning. He is also the convenor of Sapahar upazila unit of BSD.
“I am not well-known in my area as I have joined the race for the first time,” Kisku said, adding that his competitors are more prominent faces in the local politics.
“My chances of winning as well as my financial abilities to compete are poor. Yet I am trying to reach as many voters as I can and earn their trust,” he told this correspondent when he was found campaigning at Sirajpur village in Porsha upazila.
A man from Santal community, Subhas Tirki of Samra village in Niamatpur upazila said he does not know anyone by the name of Mangal Kisku taking part in the election.
“If it is, it is a matter of our pride,” he said.
In his affidavit submitted to the Election Commission, Kisku claimed that he is a self-taught person dependant on agriculture that fetches him Tk 2.20 lakh annual income while his net wealth is slightly above Tk 1 lakh.
In the affidavit, he said he will spend Tk 70,000, the cash he has in hand for his election expenditure, while his relatives will provide Tk 20,000 and he will borrow Tk 10,000 from others.
Kisku further said he bought the motorcycle and printed some posters and leaflets with the money he had in cash.
He said once he waged a movement against illegal occupiers of indigenous people's land at his village Modanshing Kurkutdanga in Sapahar upazila and took an oath for doing something for his people.
“Not only people of my community, I will fight for all the poor labourers, farmers and those who work hard for a peaceful living,” Kisku said.
Kisku is one of the five candidates in the constituency. Others are -- Sadhan Chandra Majumder of Awami League, Salek Chowdhury of BNP, Akbar Ali of Jatiya Party and Mostafijur Rahman of Islami Andolon Bangladesh.