In MP, male proxies take oath for elected women; official defends move

By Express News Service

BHOPAL:  Popular web series Panchayat, shot in Mahodiya village of Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore district, seems to be actually happening in real life too, in some villages of the state.

A series of episodes expose the real state of empowerment of elected women representatives.

It shows how male family members of the newly elected women panchayat members take the oath of office in many districts of the state.

In most cases, male relatives of the elected women panchayat members have been caught on camera being administered oath of office by the concerned village panchayat secretaries in Sagar, Damoh and Panna districts of the Bundelkhand region and Dhar district of western MP.

A similar incident has been reported from a village panchayat in Rewa district, which borders east Uttar Pradesh.

One of the videos pertains to the Jaisinagar village panchayat of Sagar district, where out of the 21 newly elected panchayat members (including the sarpanch), 10 are women.

In the videos of the oath-taking ceremony, only three women are seen taking oath, while male relatives take oath on behalf of the remaining seven reps.

The story doesn’t end there. When questioned by a journalist, the Jaisinagar village panchayat secretary Asha Ram Sahu (who administered the oath on Thursday) defended the proxy swearing-in.

“Only three out of 10 women turned up for the oath. That led to men from their family being administered the oath,” says Sahu, while admitting that there is no provision of anyone other than the actual winner taking oaths.

The men who took oath in place of the women reps, included husbands, brothers-in-law and fathers.

In the adjoining Damoh district’s Ghaisabad village panchayat, instead of the newly elected sarpanch (from the SC category) and 11 women members of the panchayat, their spouses were administered oath by the village panchayat secretary.

Ajay Kumar Srivastava, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Damoh Zila Panchayat, has ordered the Hatta Janpad Panchayat (the village is part of it) to ensure the elected women are sworn in.

“The Janpad Panchayat CEO has also been directed to initiate action against the village panchayat secretary concerned,” Srivastava said.

In the neighbouring Panna district, a viral video showed Hakam Singh (the spouse of newly elected village sarpanch Aradhana Singh) taking the oath of sarpanch on behalf of his wife.

The proxy swearing-ins come two months after CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced monetary incentives of up to Rs 15 lakh for village panchayats that elected women only.

BHOPAL:  Popular web series Panchayat, shot in Mahodiya village of Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore district, seems to be actually happening in real life too, in some villages of the state.

A series of episodes expose the real state of empowerment of elected women representatives.

It shows how male family members of the newly elected women panchayat members take the oath of office in many districts of the state.

In most cases, male relatives of the elected women panchayat members have been caught on camera being administered oath of office by the concerned village panchayat secretaries in Sagar, Damoh and Panna districts of the Bundelkhand region and Dhar district of western MP.

A similar incident has been reported from a village panchayat in Rewa district, which borders east Uttar Pradesh.

One of the videos pertains to the Jaisinagar village panchayat of Sagar district, where out of the 21 newly elected panchayat members (including the sarpanch), 10 are women.

In the videos of the oath-taking ceremony, only three women are seen taking oath, while male relatives take oath on behalf of the remaining seven reps.

The story doesn’t end there. When questioned by a journalist, the Jaisinagar village panchayat secretary Asha Ram Sahu (who administered the oath on Thursday) defended the proxy swearing-in.

“Only three out of 10 women turned up for the oath. That led to men from their family being administered the oath,” says Sahu, while admitting that there is no provision of anyone other than the actual winner taking oaths.

The men who took oath in place of the women reps, included husbands, brothers-in-law and fathers.

In the adjoining Damoh district’s Ghaisabad village panchayat, instead of the newly elected sarpanch (from the SC category) and 11 women members of the panchayat, their spouses were administered oath by the village panchayat secretary.

Ajay Kumar Srivastava, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Damoh Zila Panchayat, has ordered the Hatta Janpad Panchayat (the village is part of it) to ensure the elected women are sworn in.

“The Janpad Panchayat CEO has also been directed to initiate action against the village panchayat secretary concerned,” Srivastava said.

In the neighbouring Panna district, a viral video showed Hakam Singh (the spouse of newly elected village sarpanch Aradhana Singh) taking the oath of sarpanch on behalf of his wife.

The proxy swearing-ins come two months after CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced monetary incentives of up to Rs 15 lakh for village panchayats that elected women only.