Gram Panchayat Seats are Auctioned in this village

MYSURU: Even as the process of notifying gram panchayat polls is yet to begin, memberships are being ‘auctioned’ at Kagalavadi Mole in Chamarajanagar.

The candidates too seem ready to strike a pre-election understanding with voters to ensure that they get elected unanimously.

Though the government has made voting compulsory and launched awareness campaigns to ensure free and fair polls to uphold the spirit of democracy, villagers of Kagalavadi Mole have expressed readiness to elect candidates who are ready to pay the highest amount for the development of temples or community welfare.

There are three panchayat seats, reserved for BCM (A), general women and SC in Kagalavadi Mole, which has a dominant Uppara population.

Bangaru, an aspiring candidate, managed to win the confidence of the villagers by bidding `5.40 lakh for a seat. Nanda, an aspirant for the women’s category, offered to pay `4 lakh. Bidding for the SC seat, which is likely to be contested by a person from the SC community from the neighbouring village, is expected to be held on Monday or Tuesday. All the villagers have approved this move and have decided to defeat those who contest against the candidates who paid the highest amount.

According to sources, the SC women’s seat in Chikkalathur of Kollegal taluk has also been ‘bought’ by an aspirant, Shanthi, for `3.10 lakh, which will be used for the development of Maramma temple.

When contacted, Mariswamy of Kagalavadi Mole refuted reports that the panchayat membership has been auctioned and maintained that the elections will be held as usual.

Meanwhile, another resident, on condition of anonymity, said bidding for the membership was done in the past as well and the amount collected would be used for a good cause.

He claimed this decision was taken by the Katte (village heads) and added that the villagers would keep the promise of electing the highest bidder unopposed.

Chamarajanagar ZP CEO

K H Narasimhamurthy said the election notification will come into effect from Sunday and the polls will be held on May 29. Noting that there are provisions to act against irregularities in the election process, including luring of voters, he said, however, there is no provision to act in case voters come to a pre-poll understanding. “It is unfortunate that in a democratic setup, seats are up for bidding. I will visit the village and look into it,” he added.

It will be difficult, he said, to register a case of poll code violation without evidence or complaints. There are cases of people getting elected unanimously, but bidding of seats is uncommon, he said.