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Odisha: Villagers take written pledge from sarpanch nominees

Sources said the residents of Malupada under the Kutra panchayat insisted that candidates give written undertakings about their vision for development of the area

Subhashish Mohanty   |   Bhubaneswar   |   Published 14.02.22, 01:06 AM

Residents of a village in the tribal-dominated Odisha’s Sundergarh district have taken written undertakings from the candidates contesting for the post of sarpanch in the ensuing three-tier panchayat polls about their plan and vision for the development of the panchayat. Voting for the five-phase rural polls will commence from February 16.

Sources said that the villagers of Malupada under the Kutra panchayat on Thursday insisted that candidates give written undertakings about their vision for the development of the area. Sundergarh is about 450km from the state capital. Polling for panchayat polls will take place in Kutra on February 18. The panchayat, comprising 16 wards, has around 5,581 voters.

Pradeep Lakra, a farmer from Malupada, told The Telegraph: “When candidates came to our village for campaigning we  asked them to give us in writing as to how they plan to develop the panchayat. During the election, the candidates promise the moon only to forget everything about their promises once the election is over. This undertaking will remain with us and after the election we

will remind them of the promises they made.”

The residents of Malupada, which has around 300 eligible voters, have sought answers from candidates on seven points such as their plan for the panchayat if they are elected for the next five years, their willingness to serve the society and what their dream gram panchayat would be like. They also wanted to know as to whether they would visit every household in the panchayat even after getting elected as they did during the campaign.

They also sought to know from the candidates their five main objectives behind contesting the polls.

The candidates were also asked about the number of wards and people residing in the panchayat which they were seeking to represent. Out of nine candidates for the post of sarpanch, eight have submitted undertakings. Only Dillip Kullu, a former sarpanch from 2012 to 2017, has so far avoided giving an undertaking to the villagers. “The villagers wanted a commitment from us and I have given my assurance. It’s good,” Lalita Barua, a candidate, told this newspaper.

Bhuban Kujur, a B. Tech who had left service in a shipyard in Mumbai and is contesting as an Independent candidate, said: “The villagers asked all the candidates contesting the elections to come to the village and share their views on what they want to do for the area on pen and paper. I have shared my views and others have also done the same.”

Kujur said: “At least I have been able to share my feelings on why I am contesting the election. This is good for democracy.”

On being asked about quitting the job, Kujur said: “I worked for about 15 years. Now I want to go back to my roots and do something for my people. Being a tribal area, this region has numerous problems. Let me try my best to solve them.”

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