There will be no voting at Bijalpur on Wednesday. The village in the constituency of rural development and panchayat minister Surjit Singh Rakhra has "elected" a general-category sarpanch unanimously to a reserved post.
The revolting villagers aren't even contesting for the posts of panch. "It is unusual that even the Scheduled Castes, for whom the seat is reserved, are up against the law on reservation," said additional deputy commissioner (development) Anindita Mitra.
The district administration and election department are baffled. Together at gurdwara, the entire village has pledged not to participate in any election until the government recognises Jarnail Singh as sarpanch. "How can we, when the seat is reserved? No official has the power to change that," said ADC Mitra.
The administration has briefed the state election commissioner and will reinitiate the election process. Until the new election, it will appoint an administrator at Bijalpur.
The village had elected Jarnail Singh even before the election notification and got to know later that the seat was reserved. They are in no mood to change their mind. The village has nearly 200 SC voters and no one has stood as candidate. "All are with the unanimous choice, with the village. No one will file nomination," said a member of the SC community.
Former sapranch Bhupinder Singh said the entire village had pleaded with the administration to change its decision. "It didn't hear us, so now we go against the order," he added.
Subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Sukhwinder Singh Gill has sent a report to the DC and ADC about the village's decision. "There can't be any voting on Wednesday, as we have no nomination for either panch or sapranch," he added.