• An exclusive post: Rs 44 lakh for the post of village head


    Bhopal: Villagers in Madhya Pradesh have begun a new system to elect their sarpanch or village head – that by giving the post to the highest bidder. The system started by the villagers, will help candidates to put in their names along with the bidding money. The one with the highest bid will be the new sarpanch. Meanwhile local officials, however, said that due election process, including filing nominations will have to be followed for the election to the post.

    The villagers of Bhatauli Gram Panchaya in Ashoknagar district say the “new system” will ensure that there is “no tension among aspirants for the post”. The system, they said, is progressive as it will ensure that candidates will not distribute liquor and money to win votes.

    Saubhag Singh Yadav was unanimously "elected" at an open auction held at a temple. The bids started with a base price of ₹ 21 lakh and reached ₹ 43 lakh, after which Mr Yadav made the final bid of ₹ 44 lakh.

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    The villagers welcomed him with garland and announced him as their new sarpanch. It was also decided that no one would file nomination against him in the upcoming panchayat election in the state.

    If Mr Yadav fails to deposit ₹ 44 lakh then his nearest rival would be considered for the post, those who were part of the village committee said.

    The local officials, however, said that this process will not be recognised.

    "Whoever contests the election will have to fill the form. If only form comes to the post for Sarpanch and it is found valid, then that Sarpanch will be elected. It can be anyone, even the bidder," an official said.

    The voting for the Madhya Pradesh panchayat elections will be held in three phases between January and February.

    The Congress has filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government violated the reservation rotation norms for the upcoming panchayat elections in the state.

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