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Meet The 84-Yr-Old Odisha Man Who Has Lost 32 Elections But Is Still Going Strong


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09 April 2019

Rabindranath Behera


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Berhampur: In the sidelines of charged up political atmosphere, Shyam Babu Subudhi is all set to fight his 33rd election with a firm aim to end corruption, despite having faced loss for 32 times. At the age of 84, Subudhi is determined to fight Lok Sabha elections from Aska and Berhampur constituencies this time as an independent candidate and has already filed his nomination papers.

Knocking on doors gathering votes and pledging to resolve people’s issues, Subudhi joined politics in 1957 after completing his education and has contested Lok Sabha, Assembly and Rajya Sabha polls as an independent since 1962. His poll contest break-up is as follow: 10 times each as Lok Sabha candidate from Aska and Berhampur, twice as Rajya Sabha candidate, five times from Hinjili assembly constituency, twice from Kabisuryanagar and Berhampur assembly seats each and once from Begunia.

One will be surprised to know that this lion heart has contested against former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and ex-Odisha Chief Ministers Biju Patnaik and Janaki Ballabh Patnaik. Other heavyweight leaders like Ramachandra Rath, Somnath Rath, Anadi Sahoo and Parala Maharaj have also found themselves against unwavering Subudhi.

His very motive behind fighting elections is to raise voice against corruption. Despite having faced 32 loses, he is confident that one day he will taste victory. Speaking to OMMCOM NEWS, he said, “It does not matter whether I win or lose. I have to continue the fight against corruption. I will win one day.” He also stated proudly that age is just a number for him as he had not been diagnosed with diabetes or blood pressure problems, despite having crossed 80.

He is sure that people will support him as he has heard them say that ‘Shyam Babu is a lion like no other in the country.’ Campaigning on his own in trains, buses and at market places, Subudhi goes strikes up a conversation with every individual he encounters, hands them a pamphlet and informs them of his ‘bat’ symbol. The miniature bat that he holds in his hand also has ‘PM candidate’ written on it. In the absence of mics and lakhs of rupees to spend on campaign, Subudhi is dressed in a blazer and a hat to impress his voters.

His election focuses are: Water problem in Ganjam and Gajapati, Planting of trees and a railway line from Berhampur to Phulbani-Boudh via Aska, Hinjili and Bhanjanagar.

Before embarking on his election campaign process for the day, he concluded by saying, “I have never let the people down. I had been offered tickets from BJD and BJP but I straightly refused. I do not want any party to dictate me. Instead, I want 33 lakh voters of Aska and Berhampur to become my high command. I have stood with them all through these years and I am sure they will support my cause by voting for a big six. And finally, I want the youth to get inspired by me as this is my last time contesting elections.”

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Shyam Babu Subudhi