Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has raised objections against the Uddhav Thackeray led Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s decision to cancel direct election for the post of sarpanch. As per the new rule, elected gram panchayat members will pick the sarpanch from among themselves. Hazare added that for restoration of democracy sarpanch should be elected by people. He said that while the legislative assemblies changed five years Gram Sabha was permanent.
Hazare said, “The government doesn’t believe in democracy and therefore wanted sarpanch to be elected by councilors. If direct election process is scrapped then there will be a direct threat to democracy. There is a possibility of increasing dictatorship in the state. Powers should remain in the hands of people otherwise significance of political parties will increase and it will affect democracy.”
The erstwhile BJP government had taken a decision of electing a village sarpanch directly from among the people. On the other hand, the MVA government had decided that a sarpanch will be elected by members of gram panchayat who belong to political parties. Thackeray also reversed another decision about direct election in local-self government bodies like municipal councils. Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari has refused to sign an ordinance to reverse the former BJP government’s decision of direct election of sarpanch. The government is all set to table indirect sarpanch poll bill during the budget session of Maharashtra assembly.
“Not only sarpanch of the village but chief minister of the state should get selected through election process. Then only we can say that democracy means for the people and by the people,” added Hazare.
BJP leader Vikas Matkari has supported Anna’s stand of direct election of sarpanch. Already 9,000 gram panchayats have passed a resolution opposing the state government’s decision to allow members to elect a sarpanch from among themselves. It also suspended 600 expert directors appointed in the 302 agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC).