Though the Haryana government is patting its back for making the coming panchayat elections historic by making educational qualification mandatory for candidates, the poll schedule from October 4 to 18 does not suit farmers as it clashes with the harvesting season.
The farming community normally remains busy in the month of October, harvesting paddy, bajra, cotton and other kharif crops and transporting these to mandis for sale, besides other allied activities.
Almost three-month delay in holding the polls caused by the BJP government may disturb the farmers who will have little time to take part in election-related activities as harvesting will be in the full swing around that time.
"The timing of the polls is clashing with harvest season and it will disturb farmers. We appeal the government to ensure timely lifting of paddy from grain markets so that farmers could also participate in polls, instead of spending nights in the grain markets," said Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) state president Gurnam Singh Chaduni.
The timing of elections also worries the poll candidates, especially those who are contesting zila parishad and block samiti elections, as they will be struggling to meet the busy farmers during the campaign.
"Around 99% candidates in the panchayat polls are from the farming community. For a farmer, panchayat polls and crops both are important. As the panchayat polls witness a close contest, therefore every single vote matters in panchayat polls, so we can neither turn a blind eye to the polls nor to our crops", says Satpal, a farmer of Kathura village of Sonepat district, who is also planning to contest the sarpanch election in his village.
POLLS CLASH WITH EXAMS TOO
The panchayat elections also clash with the first semester examination of Class 10 and Class 12 of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Haryana Board of Secondary Education (HBSE). The CBSE's 1st semester exams of these classes will start on September 14 while HBSE's 1st semester exams will commence on September 29. This has worried the panchayat poll candidates, whose children are appearing in these examinations.
"The schedule of the panchayat elections is disturbing for both farmers and students. Since my son is preparing for the Class 12 exams starting on September 14, it is difficult for me to focus on his study as well as the election campaign", said Dr Poonam Boora, who is contesting zila parishad election from ward number 7 of Rohtak district.
"The state election commission and the government should have taken these crucial exams in consideration before announcing the poll dates", she added.