In Kawardha, the home district of Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, a woman sarpanch has decided to delegate all her responsibilities to her nephew, citing her busy household routine as the reason.
In an affidavit, sarpanch Santoshi Bai has handed over her powers to nephew Kaushal Nishad, saying she remains too engrossed in her household work. “At home, I am preoccupied with work and that diverts my attention from development work. So I am passing on my authority as sarpanch to my nephew,” she said.
Santoshi was elected as sarpanch for the first time in Gangibahra gram panchayat in Kawardha district in January 2015.
A year later, her decision has shocked officials as she delegated her roles and responsibilities through a power of attorney. Santoshi admitted that as a sarpanch, she was unable to deliver her role and execute various government programmes. She justified her selection of her nephew, calling him a “completely credible” person.
“We have taken note of the absurd decision and will investigate it. Today, the sub-divisional magistrate suspended her and served her a showcause notice to explain her action,” Kawardha district collector Dhananjay Dewangan said. Critiquing Santoshi’s decision, former state election commissioner Sushil Trivedi said, “This only shows that the government has not cared to inform and empower the women in panchayats. As a result of this, they are taking such a ridiculous step. It is legally untenable. The reports of ‘panchayat pati’ also are on the rise in the state.”