A woman sarpanch of a gram panchayat in Ratlam district has ‘authorised’ a man, who allegedly paid her election expenses, to take decisions on her behalf, arguing that she and her husband are illiterate.
The district administration on Tuesday started a probe in the matter to find out who made the power of attorney and whether Deepak Sharma, the man who has been reportedly taking decisions in the Mewasa gram panchayat for last four months, had paid for Bagdibai’s campaign expenses.
SDM (Ratlam) Neha Bharatiya told The Indian Express that the administration had received complaints from other parchs that Sharma was interfering in the affairs of the gram panchayat. The probe, however, was launched only after it came to light that the sarpanch and Sharma were showing the “power of attorney” to those with questioned his interference.
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The SDM said she had asked the block chief executive officer to submit a report within two days and also inquire into the role of Sharma and whether he had paid for her campaign. The administration will seek an explanation from her.
If the allegations against the sarpanch and Sharma are proved, she will be disqualified and a prosecution will be launched. Ratlam district panchayat CEO Laxman Singh Dindor said Bagdibai’s conduct amounts to misuse of office. He said she had reportedly signed a paper with Rs 500 stamp to authorise Sharma to act on her behalf. Her husband Kanhaiyyalal is a labourer and is also illiterate.
It may be recalled that Madhya Pradesh has put a ban on “sarpanch pati”, an illegal practice that sees husbands substituting for their wives who are duly elected. The state government’s order followed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the practice should be stopped.