A large number of young and educated candidates, especially women, have entered the fray for the first time in the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) elections beginning in three phases in Haryana on Sunday.
Jabbar Poswal, 27, a law graduate from Meerut University, is first in his family to fight the block samiti poll from Jagadhari. “The sex ratio has never been a problem among Muslims, but the education of girl child has been an issue in some areas like Yamunanagar,” he told HT, adding that he was contesting the elections with the aim to provide facilities for girl education.
Not far in the same block, is his rival, a 24-year-old girl, Ifroj, from Mukrampur village. A BEd from Kurukshetra University, she, too, is a first-time candidate from the family of late Abul Hassan Lambardar.
“Hamare yahan kai gaon mein betiyon ko koi padhata hi nahi aur kuchh schools bhi dur-dur hain (No one teaches the girl child in our villages and schools, too, are situated far-off),” she says. She is in the fray to “do some good” for her village and, including better transport services for visiting their relatives in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
A few kilometres farther in Mustafabad village, Mohit Kumar, 26, is among six candidates contesting for the post of sarpanch. A BTech, he is a son of a small cloth trader, Narain Dass. “Padhe likhe log election kursi ke liye nahi ladte, vikas ke liye ladte hain (Educated persons don’t fight the elections for the seat, but for development),” says the first-timer, who wants to improve the overall condition of Mustafabad, which he says is “going from bad to worse”.
IT’S A FIGHT BETWEEN SISTERS-IN-LAW IN SUGG
In the village Sugg near Jagadhari town, a keen contest is on between two sisters-in-law for the post of sarpanch (seat reserved for woman candidate).
Palwinder Kaur, 34, a graduate from MKP College, Dehradun, is the wife of former sarpanch, Gagandeep Singh. She is “aghast” to see Richa, 29, wife of Gagandeep’s cousin Harpreet Singh, file the nomination against her.
“Richa, who is younger to me, should not have filed the papers knowing that I had done so already. Now, let the voters choose the better one,” says Palwinder Kaur.
Wives of agriculturists, the two women are the only candidates in the fray for the post of sarpanch in their village.
Richa, one of the top rankers in the masters of business administration that she completed from Kurukshetra University about six years ago, says she is not seeing it as a battle with her sister-in-law.
“There are no basic facilities in the village — no drains, streetlights and proper electricity supply. Therefore, I opted to fight the poll, knowing that I will be performing better as a sarpanch,” she says.