This village has never had an election to GP

Unanimous choice

This village has never had an election to GP

The GP in Hoskote taluk in Bangalore Rural district already has a fully-elected body in place even as more than 2,600 gram panchayats go to polls during the first phase on Saturday.

Candidates in all the 18 seats spread across 17 villages of this GP have been elected unopposed. While, there are scores of candidates who get elected unopposed from individual wards in rural local bodies across the state, that an entire GP should get elected uncontested is something unique.

But at the Dodda Aralagere GP it has become a sort of tradition. Never has the cluster of villages with a population of around 8,200 in the GP gone through the process of casting the ballot to get members elected to the local panchayat.

Ever since the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Act enacted in 1993, three gram panchayat polls have been held - 1996, 2000 and in 2005 and each time all members of the panchayat have been getting elected without the ballot box.

“Each time new members are given an opportunity. The priority is for youths and the final list is prepared after extensive consultation”, states GP Secretary Thimmarayappa. The locals say there is no compulsion on them from anyone during the GP polls. While fresh faces do make it to the GP every time, there is one exception. The local political bigwig –– Satish Gowda. The nephew of Labour Minister B N Bache Gowda, the junior Gowda has been the GP president for the last 10 years. He has been elected unopposed this time too.

Such is the clout of Satish Gowda (38) that every time the government fixes the reservation category for the GP president, no one files their nomination papers. After a gap of two months with the post lying vacant, the government reassigns the reservation category (usually general) and Gowda promptly gets elected unopposed. Gowda argues that he is compelled by the villagers that he accept the GP presidentship.

“As the GP members are elected unopposed, there is no political bias and they are compelled to work and gets things done. We have never felt the need for elections,” Chikkanna, a villager, states.

“All the villages have good sewerage system. There is no drinking water problem. The roads are good and an efficient garbage clearance system is in place. Several overhead tanks have been built for sufficient storage of water,” said another villager Srinivas. The GP has taken up works to the tune of Rs 1.83 crore under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme this fiscal.

The trend set by Dodda Aralagere seems to be picking up. All members in three other GPs in Hoskote - Doddahulluru, Kaji Hosahalli and Vagata - have been elected unopposed this time.

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