Woman sarpanchs disappointed, say new rule 'choking'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Jaipur
  • Updated: Jan 16, 2015 16:05 IST

Reacting to the high court's refusal to immediately interfere with a state government ordinance fixing educational qualification for candidates in panchayat elections, woman sarpanch Kamla Bai is ruing the fact that she and other sarpanchs had worked to ensure victory for the BJP government in the state and the Centre.
Kamla feels the government has not done justice.

"We elected (Narendra) Modi government but we did not imagine they will choke our throat," said Kamla, the sarpanch of Tilonia village in Ajmer district.

Nikhil Dey, a social activist with Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, said the ordinance would assist only the rich
people as educated people
in rural Rajasthan are usually from rich families.

"A number of candidates are reported to be searching for education certificates. This will lead to a number of litigations against fake certificates after the polls. There is no full proof system to verify the certificates," he said.

"The ordinance is undemocratic as no consultation
was done at any level before
passing it," Dey said.

Meanwhile, the petitioners in the matter have decided
to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court.

"The HC's order is misleading as 95% women in villages could not file nominations as they are not educated," said Norti Bai, the sarpanch of Harmara village.

Norti and Kamla are litigants in the case.

"The BJP has constantly maintained that ordinance has been hailed in villages. Congress has been opposing it just to mislead the
public after losing mass support,"
said BJP spokesperson
Kailash Nath Bhatt.

Pradesh Congress chief Sachin Pilot, however, sees court order in positive light.

He said from the tone and tenor of the court order it seems the court is not in favour of implementing the Ordinance but there is constitutional binding as election process has started.

"The court has cornered the government for not being able to produce factual figures showing that there are sufficient number of literate people in rural area especially women, SC and STs who could be given preference
in panchayat polls. Even if figures were provided, the government cannot constitutionally stop anyone from contesting polls," he said.

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