Instances of voters funding a candidate to contest an election are rare even in a strong democracy and it would be among the rarest if they do so in the case of a former extremist. Voters of Pawarguda and Collegeguda habitations in Jainoor mandal pooled in a few thousand rupees to help former Mangi dalam member Jangubai alias Swapna from Jainoor Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency.

"The allocation of a party ticket would have been wasted had the voters in the two habitations not supported us," reveals Jangubai's husband Godam Hanmanth Rao, A Gond tribal who was known as Mahesh when he was commander of the dreaded Jodeghat dalam of Communist Party of India (ML), People's War Group, in Adilabad district. This incident also marks completion of the process of integration of the former Naxalite couple into mainstream, a decade after they gave up arms.

"The voters are of the view that because of my past experience I have a better understanding of the problems of poor tribal people and can muster enough courage whenever needed to face even higher officials. They need development desperately," observes Jangubai as she recalls the events leading up to her filing of nomination. The couple, who got married during their underground days, stayed away from politics despite Jangubai's father being active in politics. "It was during this interregnum that we learnt that people can be served even through democratic means," says Hanmanth Rao.

"Therefore, I grabbed the opportunity when the opportunity came. The election result notwithstanding, I will fight for the rights of the people here," the former Naxalite added.

Keywords: Voterssponsorformer Naxalite