Panchayat elections should not cause bitterness in villages: President Murmu

President Droupadi Murmu, Santhali name Puti
President Droupadi Murmu in a file photo

Panchayat elections should not cause bitterness among people in villages, President Droupadi Murmu said on Monday as she highlighted the Gujarat governments Samras Gram Yojana that rewards villages electing panchayat representatives through consensus.

Speaking at the National Panchayat Awards, the president called for enhanced participation of women in panchayats.

Murmu said panchayat elections at times cause bitterness and altercations in villages.

“There is a provision for panchayat elections every five years so that all social groups can participate… However, it is seen that sometimes these elections cause bitterness among locals,” the president said in Hindi.

“To avoid this, political parties have kept away from panchayat elections,” she said.

Panchayati Raj polls are non-party-based elections, in which candidates do not use the symbol of any political party.

The president mentioned the Samras Gram Yojana which envisages rural residents choosing their village heads through consensus rather than elections.

The scheme, which seeks to avoid enmity between different groups in villages at the time of elections, was introduced in 2006 by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

“The panchayats that elected representatives unanimously were awarded. The thought was that there should be peace in the village, which is disturbed due to the bitterness caused by-elections,” she said.

The president also said 46 per cent of panchayat representatives today are women and called for their higher participation in panchayats.

“I appeal to women to participate actively in the work at the panchayat. I also appeal to their families to support these efforts,” she said.

Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh said the governments aim is to achieve gram swaraj or self-sufficient villages, as imagined by Mahatma Gandhi.

He added that the government is also focusing on making villages carbon-neutral, and water sufficient.

The Ministry of Panchayati Raj is celebrating the National Panchayat Awards Week from April 17-21 as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav 2.0 in the run-up to the National Panchayati Raj Day on April 24.

The National Panchayat Awards include the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Satat Vikas Puraskar, Nanaji Deshmukh Sarvottam Panchayat Satat Vikas Puraskar, Gram Urja Swaraj Vishesh Panchayat Puraskar and Carbon Neutral Vishesh Panchayat Puraskar.

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