Minati first wheelchair-bound woman to win panchayat poll

She had contested for Ward Member post from Bajapur village

Published: 24th February 2017 01:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th February 2017 06:20 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KENDRAPARA:  A 24-year-old girl of Bajapur village under Kantabania gram panchayat (GP) in the coastal district has become the first wheelchair-bound woman candidate to win any election in the State. Minati Barik, who depends on a wheelchair for mobility, had contested in the three-tier panchayat polls for the Ward Member’s post from Bajapur village.

In 2007, Suresh Chaudhury (28), a Person with Disabilities (PwDs), had won the elections for the post of Sarpanch from Ragadi panchayat under Karlamunda block in Kalahandi district.

Villagers celebrate the victory of Minati
in rural polls in Kendrapara | Express

Minati’s victory is an encouragement for the PwDs  and will pave the way for the disabled to contest elections. She has become a symbol of political empowerment for differently-abled persons,

said Sruti Mohapatra, former chairperson of Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
After she was declared winner on Thursday, Minati said, “My victory for the post of village Ward Member indicates that things are changing for disabled persons.

A wheelchair does not obstruct me for serving people. I would like to fight for the rights of the physically challenged. At the same time, I will take up the village’s problem which elected me. My disability is not my weakness, it is my strength.”

“I have a bunch of goals for myself. One of my aims is to open a school and training centre for the disabled people in our village,” she added.

Minati was born with both her legs paralysed. But as she grew up, determination overpowered her disability. She read up to Class X. Minati is also a member of Self-Help Group (SHG). With sheer hard work in the SHG, she managed to become self-reliant by making crafts from ‘golden grass’ in the village.

Though Minati cannot move her lower body, she is not confined to her bed. She moves around energetically on her tricycle. Villagers are happy after she won the post of Ward Member, said Narahari Barik, a villager.

“Minati’s entry in the election field has added a refreshing air  to the poll firmament. She has become a living example that nothing is impossible,” said former Sarpanch of Kantabania GP Dhananjay Das.
“We are proud that our daughter won the election. My wife Santilata is partially blind. I have two sons and three daughters,” Minati’s father Balaram Barik said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Odisha news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


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