Meet Kerabai Manhar, country’s 6th poorest MLA from poll-bound Chhattisgarh
Raipur, Sept 19: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is known to be a party with rich coffers. However, the saffron party also includes leaders who are not known for their monetary pomp and even though they do not always make the headlines, their utility on the ground can never be ignored.
One such silent warrior from the BJP is Kerabai Manhar. The 40-year-old MLA from Chhattisgarh's Sarangarh constituency has recently found a place among the top 10 Assembly members with the least income level. Her name surfaced in a survey conducted across the nation by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and of the 3,145 MLAs covered, Kerabai's name was ranked sixth, said a Naidunia report.
Kerabai, who is known for her social service and organisational contributions, was fielded by the BJP for the first time in the 2013 Assembly elections and she defeated the sitting legislator, Congress's Padma Ghanshyam Manhar, by 15,844 votes.
Kerabai belongs to a humble background. Her only income is the salary that she draws as the MLA and her annual salary is INR 5.4 lakh, which is lower than the national average. According to ADR, the MLAs' average annual income is INR 24 lakh out of which, a male MLA's average annual income is INR 24 lakh while that of a female MLA is INR 10 lakh, the Naidunia report added. Its survey included 63 MLAs of Chhattisgarh and it was found that the state's MLAs' average income is INR 5.37 lakh.
Kerabai's husband is a retired school teacher and they have some farmland and livestock to earn some living.
'Social service is what matters to me'
Kerabai, however, is not too worried with her economic status. When Oneindia contacted her, she said it is her zeal for social service which keeps her motivated. She said she came to politics out of her passion to serve people and she will be readily accepting their verdict in elections. Kerabai has succeeded in getting implemented a 100-bed hospital, girls' college and hostel and her satisfaction lies in the work she does as a people's representative.
Chhattisgarh will go to elections later this year and Chief Minister Raman Singh, who will complete three terms this year, will be banking on assets like Kerabai to win yet one more term.
The five MLAs who precede Kerabai are: B Yamini Bala (Singanamala/Andhra Pradesh), Umadevi Khatik (Hatta/Madhya Pradesh), Upendra (Phephna/Uttar Pradesh), Narendra Kumar (Mandwa/Rajasthan) and CT Ravi (Chikkamagaluru/Karnataka).