KHAPRAKHOL (BALANGIR): Age is not a barrier for Ganeshram Bhoi, who is contesting the panchayat election for the 11th time at the ripe old age of 85 this year. Interestingly, of the 10 outings in the panchayat election, he has been defeated only once.
A Class VI dropout, Bhoi is presently the Chairman of Khaprakhol Panchayat Samiti and is contesting as Panchayat Samiti Member from Ghunsar Gram Panchayat under Khaprakhol block in the district this time. He was unfortunate to have lost once in 1992 when he contested as Panchayat Samiti member from Tankapani Gram Panchayat.
Recalling that he had first won in 1954 as Ward Member from Sanagurujibhata in Lathore Gram Panchayat and elected as Naib Sarpanch, Bhoi said he later won as Sarpanch of Lathore Gram Panchayat in 1963.
He also had the privilege to become the first Sarpanch of Tankapani Gram Panchayat in the next election in 1967 after it was carved out as a new Gram Panchayat.
Bhoi’s good work as Sarpanch ensured his victory thrice in a row as Sarpanch from Tankapani Gram Panchayat till he lost as Panchayat Samiti Member of the Gram Panchayat in 1992. But his defeat was short-lived as he was re-elected as Sarpanch of Tankapani Gram Panchayat in 1997.
However, he shifted to Karuanjhar Gram Panchayat and won as Sarpanch in 2007. Subsequently, he contested as Panchayat Samiti Member from Bender Gram Panchayat and went on to become the Chairman of Khaprakhol Panchayat Samiti.
Despite his age, Bhoi’s effort has neither diminished nor does he seem to be getting tired of public life. He is contesting once again this time from Ghunsar Gram Panchayat as Panchayat Samiti Member and aspires to become the Chairman of Khaprakhol PanchayatSamiti againn.
He is not worried about the fact that youths are pitted against him and is confident of winning the election. Incidentally, his daughter and two daughters-in-law are also contesting in the rural polls.
Bhoi says he has contested for all the posts in Gram Panchayat and has met with success. He is not after power nor does he plan to retire. He says he would continue to serve people as long he is alive.