Panchayat polls: Lack of information leaves hopefuls confused



Mandi (Dec 9): While dates for elections to the Panchayati Raj institutions have been announced by the state government, the Panchayati Raj department is yet to issue clear instructions regarding the polling process, as a result of which people interested in contesting the polls are being forced to go from one office to other.

Surprisingly, even the department website does not have any instructions regarding the polling process. Under these circumstances, while some hopeful candidates are running here and there to get a bonafide certificate made, others are making the rounds of police stations to get a character certificates, and still others are wandering curelessly in banks to get no-due certificates. BDO and district panchayat offices are seeing heavy rush of aspiring candidates seeking information on the election process. Sources in Mandi district panchayat office claimed that even they have not got directions on the concerned matter. Amendment in the Panchayati Raj Act allowing part-time and casual workers to contest polls has added to the confusion.

Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister Jairam claimed that reverent instructions have been issued to all district panchayat offices, but activists of Mandi RTI Bureau through a letter written to the department and also to the state Election Commission have alleged that there is utter confusion at ground level. RTI Bureau convener Lawan Thakur demanded that exact information on the election process should be available on the notice board of every panchayat in the state.

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