Notes make for votes here

Panchayat elections

Many communities fear such an involvement, beginning with the selection of candidates, providing resources (read money), campaigning and up to the selection of the president and the vice-president as it is accompanied with intense rivalry, lead to acute sectarianism in the village.

One community which harbours such fears is Sondekola in the taluk, a reserved constituency which sends a representative to the 12-member panchayat of the same name.

Not wanting elections to become battlegrounds breeding lasting bitterness, the community has come up with a strategy.

It has decided to elect unanimously a candidate who has paid the highest donation for renovating the local Obaladevaru temple.

Aspiring candidates were asked to deposit Rs 71,000 each with the community. Their names were entered in pieces of paper which were folded and one of them was picked out.

Indiramma was the lucky candidate. The others were asked not to file their nominations. Indiramma upped the ante and chipped in another Rs 14,000 over and above her deposit of Rs  71,000.

Such attempts at consensus, however, are frowned upon by the younger members of the community who wanted change, and more importantly, a hot contest.

The elders in the community say that such a consensus will help reduce the groupism in the village, contribute to community projects and reduce the corrupting influence of the money spent by the candidates.

The youth, on the other hand, see the attempt as an attempt to maintain status quo and prevent a younger leadership from emerging in the community.

Discussions are apace to resolve the conflict with Tuesday being the last day for filing nominations.

Similar attempts at evolving consensus are being undertaken at Uppanayakanahalli, Nandipura and Obannahalli, the other villages in the panchayat. Such has been the intense excitement that the election is likely to witness acute political rivalry, not only within communities but also within families.

There have been cases wherein siblings have filed nominations with backing from different political parties.

The district has 182 gram panchayats with 3,171 members. Till Saturday, 8,75 nominations had been filed.

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