By Manoj More
Parrots picking up horoscopes at random for soothsayers to predict the future of people has been heard of but a housefly selecting the deputy headman of a village is something novel. That’s what was reported from Satkarshtal village near Khed (Rajgurunagar) taluka of Pune district. It took nearly 10 minutes for the housefly to sit on the chit carrying the name of the deputy sarpanch. The district collectorate has called the process “invalid.”
On Saturday, the gram panchayat of Satkarshtal elected Sanjeevani Thingale as deputy sarpanch for a one-year term. Three members had thrown their hat in the ring.
Ashok Chavan, gram panchayat member, said, “There are nine gram panchayat members. Two are in the opposition. Of the seven members, two served as sarpanches. One served as deputy sarpanch. Of the four, I had withdrawn. So three remained in the fray,” he said. Satkarshtal village has a population of over 4000.
Khanderao Thingale, whose panel holds the rein of the gram panchayat, said he suggested the idea of allowing a housefly to decide the deputy sarpanch. “When I mooted the idea, all other members agreed,” he said adding a similar procedure was adopted last year.
Sanjeevani is daughter-in-law of Khanderao Thingale, who is a former member of the gram panchayat. “The gram panchayat meeting was held at Bhairavnath temple in the village where prominent villagers were invited. I made the suggestion as a villager,” he said.
The names of contestants were written in three chits. The chits were placed on the ground in front of all members and prominent villagers. After nearly 10 minutes, a housefly sat on one chit. “When the chit was opened, it carried the name of Sanjeevani Thingale,” said Chavan, himself a four-time gram panchayat member. The new sarpanch said she was lucky.
“The housefly sat on the chit carrying my name… It could have sat on any other chit…it was an interesting way of selecting the deputy sarpanch,” she said.
Since the story was reported by local newspapers, television channel crews have been descending on the village. “Our village has become a celebrity of sorts. Our idea will surely catch up,” Chavan said.
All this has not gone down well with the district collectorate which described the process invalid. “So far, we have not received any report regarding this election. If such an election has taken place where a housefly has decided the deputy sarpanch, then it is invalid. For electing a deputy sarpanch, due election process should be followed,” said Additional Collector Ganesh Patil. He said the collectorate will inquire into the matter.