Better mix of local poll candidates in Odisha

A  27-year-old from Odisha’s Angul quit his job in a private company and has now thrown his hat in the ring for a sarpanch’s post.

Published: 26th January 2022 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th January 2022 07:23 AM   |  A+A-


(Representational Photo | PTI)

A  27-year-old from Odisha’s Angul quit his job in a private company and has now thrown his hat in the ring for a sarpanch’s post. Sujit Mahallick, a graduate engineer, wanted to return to his roots and change what his predecessors promised but failed to deliver—upliftment of villages and the people who reside therein. Not far away, in Balasore, a second-year MBA student Pragyan Paramita Jena, all of 22, filed her nominations for the position of a zilla parishad member.

A fierce desire to fight corruption drove her because Jena believes that 90% of funds meant for community development are misappropriated and this must be stopped. Such examples of youngsters willing to risk or forego a career in the comforts of well-paying jobs are many in Odisha, which will witness three-tier rural polls next month. Come to think of it, that these 20-somethings are vying for space in the grassroots of Indian politics is a very welcome sign for our democracy. Not just the young generation, the diversity of people willing to test the waters in politics is far greater.

A former superintendent of police Ramesh Behera too has filed his papers for panchayat samiti member. So has Anjali Behera, who once served as minister of women and child development in the Naveen Patnaik government. After quitting the BJD, she joined the BJP and is not reluctant to go back to the most basic level to serve people as a samiti member.

In India, politics is often viewed with a sense of skepticism—and also contempt—by people from the middle class. Leave alone contesting, we don’t even turn out to vote and one look at the poor voting percentage in urban areas makes it abundantly clear that we choose to stay as much away from active politics as possible. That probably is the biggest irony of Indian politics: We watch people with compromised integrity take over the mantle and run the show but won’t do anything about it. More and more people from varied backgrounds coming into politics with a commitment to serve the people will change the political horizon for sure and that it is happening at the grassroots is very heartening. The pattern emerging from the panchayat polls in Odisha provides a ray of hope for the future.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp