Nottingham university graduate contests Maharashtra gram panchayat polls, wins
It was almost a ‘Swades’ moment for 30-year-old Sushant Pawar when he spent time at his native village in Gadadewadi in the Beed district of Aurangabad. A health post sanctioned for the village almost 15 years ago was yet to be constructed and electricity and water-supply was still a huge concern for the entire village.
Pawar, a computer engineer from the University of Nottingham and a Mumbai-based restaurateur then constituted the ‘Yuva Gram Vikas’ with six others which won the recently held gram panchayat polls in the state. “I was born in the village but when I saw that nothing has changed in the last three decades, I decided to take it up. Our panel’s agenda was also simple - we will concentrate on water supply, electricity, building a hospital and constructing houses for the poor in the next five years,” said Pawar.
The restaurateur also belongs to a family with a bureaucratic background. While his father retired as the municipal commissioner of Vasai-Virar corporation, his uncle still works with the state government. “Even if my family works for the government, I will never understand the system, unless I am a part of it. I am sure I will get to learn a lot if I start at the grassroots level,” he said.
Maharashtra’s 12,711-gram panchayats went to polls on January 15. For gram panchayat elections, the candidates usually form local-level panels that fight the elections. HT had earlier reported that this year, a large number of young men and women with no political affiliations, contested and won the elections. While many of the young guns are from the village, there are also candidates like Pawar, who moved out of their village to work in the cities. The village Pawar fought from - Gadadewadi - has a small population of 1,500 people.
“I have worked in England and Mumbai. Here, I had also set-up a restaurant in Kamala Mills, Parel, however, we had to shut it owing to the pandemic and my father also retired around the same time, which is when we decided to stay near the village for some time,” said Pawar.
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