LUCKNOW: For those aspiring to be a part of the political dispensation at the village, block, and district levels may have to fulfil certain conditions for contesting the next three-tier panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh. The state government is contemplating to make a minimum educational qualification
mandatory for the contestants.
Besides, the government may bring in an amendment in the Panchayati Raj Act to enforce the two-child norm for the contestants.
The panchayat elections were due in Uttar Pradesh in December 2020 but owing to the prevailing pandemic conditions, the state government, in all likelihood, may defer it to June 2021.
Additional chief secretary, Panchayati Raj, Manoj Kumar Singh, confirmed that the proposal for the minimum qualification and some other conditions for the candidates were being mulled at the government level and may take a concrete shape soon.
The sources claimed that educational qualification for women and reserved category candidates for Gram Panchayat elections could be up to Class 8, while other candidates may be required to possess the qualification till intermediate pass (Class XII). Similarly, the female and reserved category contestants for
District Panchayat would have to have minimum educational qualification up to Class X and others up to Class XII.
The sources also said that the Adityanath government might bring the proposal to bring about these amendments in Panchayati Raj Act in the cabinet meeting soon and the bill is expected to be presented in the next session of the Legislative Assembly. However, the opposition has been crying foul describing the
state government’s intentions arbitrary and unjust.
Uttar Pradesh will not be the only state to mull such a change in the Panchayati Raj system, but the model has already been implemented and working Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Haryana.
At the same time, political experts feel that those changes would lead to major socio-political implications as conditions like minimum qualification as the two-child norm would deprive a substantial number of aspirants, especially from the lower strata, of contesting the polls.
Even the gram pradhan associations are not taking the proposal with a pinch of salt as they feel that they should also be kept in the loop before making and implementing the changes.
However, the opposition parties, including the Samajwadi Party, feel that it will be a deliberate attempt by the state government to deprive the downtrodden of being a part of the political process.