A boy aged 17 allegedly faked his age and was elected village pradhan or headman in the recent panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh, exposing loopholes in the system.
Worse, officials expressed helplessness in the matter after the losing candidate at Chachiha village under Pinahat block of Agra district lodged a complaint.
Teenager Gajendra Singh, whose mother is the block pramukh or chief, defeated eight rivals. He polled 694 votes while his nearest rival, Pooran Singh, got 437.
The boy was not qualified to contest the election where only adults are eligible.
Gajendra’s high school marksheet mentions his date of birth as August 15, 1998, which means he is 17 years and three months old.
He allegedly submitted a false affidavit on his educational qualification to fake his age.
Rival Pooran Singh said the anomaly was pointed out but local officials didn’t pay heed to it, forcing him to lodge a complaint with higher authorities: the election officer and district magistrate.
Gajendra’s father denied the allegations, saying his son is 21 and the voters list says so.
The sub-divisional magistrate of Bah, Uma Shankar, said Gajendra is 21 in accordance with the voters list and his Aadhar card but the high school marksheet says he is a minor.
“The remedy now for the complainant is to file a petition in the court,” he said.
It has been alleged that fearing rejection of Gajendra’s candidature, four of his family members had filed nominations for the election. However, once his papers were approved, the others withdrew their names.