'Contesting elections from this ward in Rajasthan means death'.
This superstition has discouraged people from fighting Panch polls for 15 years from Gram Panchayat 24 ASC ward of Gharsana town in Sriganganagar, about 450 km from Jaipur.
The bye-elections for Panch to 18 wards in the district were held on February 14. But, Gram Panchayat 24 ASC went without representation once again. Reason: The fear of death.
Villagers quote and Panchayat records confirm that three panchs who were declared elected from here during the past 15 years either died or fell ill severely without completing their tenure. Hence, nobody is willing to risk his life by getting elected as panch from the ward.
Assistant election officer Vedprakash said despite his best efforts, none of 1298 voters was willing to file nomination papers from the ward for fear of death.
One Nanakchand Middha said Karnel Singh was elected panch from here. But, he developed mental illness and was moved to other place. Thereafter Gyanchand Kataria and Vijay Singhla were also elected from the ward. They too died of illness before completing their tenure. This time one Radheyshyam Aggarwal agreed to file the nomination. But, before he could file it, he fell ill and was hospitalised. Later, he refused to contest from the ward, Middha said.
Some other wards too went unrepresented.
But, they didn't have any superstitions attached. In some other cases, only one contestant was there who was elected unopposed. Villagers attribute it to village-specific influence mechanism behind it.
Vedprakash confirmed that there had been no representation from ward no.9 of Sadhuwali in Ganganagar Panchayat samiti either for unknown reasons. Interestingly, ward 22 PS in Raisinghnagar Panchayat Samiti had only one nomination, which was declared invalid.
In many gram panchayats, ward panchs were elected unopposed as they were the only contestants, he said.
Gharasana Panchayat has 320 wards. Bye-elections to 18 wards of the district were held on February 14.
Election of upsarpanchs were also held on Saturday for 22 RJD Gram Panchayat in Gharsana. Ramkumar was declared elected defeating his nearest rival Surendra Kumar.