“Twice I was defeated and now, when I am inching closer to death I have been elected,” says N Mariyappa, who has tasted success for the first time in three elections to the Grama Panchayat. He has been elected the member from Bommasandra in Jannaghatta Grama Panchayat in Sugatur Hobi in the district.
Two decades ago, Mariyappa contested for election to the Mandal Panchayat twice, losing both times. Mortified, he made no effort to enter public life till the May elections to the Grama Panchayats.
The Congress had refused to support him because of his age, but Mariyappa won the backing of the Janata Dal (S) and defeated his 23-year-old rival. Others in the fray withdrew out of respect for him. The senior citizen explains that the secret of his success was his non-controversial and his helping nature.
Mariyappa is taking his job very seriously.
“Earlier, I used to stay for long periods in my son’s house in Kolar. But now, if I visit him, I will return to my village the same day. Nobody should complain that I am not accessible to them,” says Mariyappa who has attended all the three meetings of the Grama Panchayat since his election.
Houses for the homeless, street lights, toilets, ration cards for families are his priorities, and Mariyappa has pressed these demands in the GP meetings.
So far, his concerns were his six children, 22 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. But his election as member has saddled Mariyappa with new responsibilities. The development of his village is his overriding concern.
“I am healthy and fit,” bristles Mariyappa when his age is mentioned. He is planning to acquire a hearing aid so he need not be dependent on others to tell about the proceedings of the meetings.
Of course, his vision too is not what it used to be. But that does not prevent him from working in his five-acre farm. That is something he will do till his last breath.