The coastal village of Dandi,which is synonymous with the freedom movement,is now so disillusioned that it stayed away from panchayat polls since people here expect nothing from yet another elected body.
Dandi is among the 33 villages where panchayat polls could not be held on December 29 since there was no candidate for sarpanch. Though the state Election Commission says it will hold panchayat polls in these 33 villages on January 30,locals say they prefer being under the district administration.
Dandi,located in Olpad taluka,lives by the sea,but does not have drinking water.
Dhirubhai Patel,the last sarpanch of the village,says,This year,nobody filed nomination for the panchayat posts. Leaders from our village elected to the taluka panchayat have also failed to bring water to the village. We have made representations to the MLA and ministers,but nothing has been done so far.
Prathugadh in Dhrangadhra taluka of Surendranagar district also stayed away from the panchayat polls,albeit for different reasons. Villagers wanted a samras panchayat (where sarpanch and other officer-bearers are appointed by consensus to avert polls for incentivised funds). However,the lone Muslim family in this village of 2,000-odd people reportedly wanted to have one of its members in one of the seven wards. Eventually,no one filed nomination.
The case of Hodko village in Kutch district takes the cake. The village on the periphery of White Rann is famous for the hotel run by the villagers,called Saad-e-Sarhad. Here,residents opted out of elections to preserve the 40-year-old friendship between the two main contestants,Salam Hasam and Suleman Mohmaad.
Even more curious is the case of Ghangheli village in Sihor taluka of Bhavnagar district. Here,the local administration simply forgot that the panchayats term was ending this month and so no polls were held. In Dhamalpur village of Rajkot district,nomination forms did not reach in time as the village was busy mourning the death of two of its elderly and respected figures.