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Friday, 16 September 2011

Right to Recall' still unexcercised in MP Gram Panchayats

Bhopal, Although 'Right to Recall' concept gained wide prominence after Anna Hazare's movement on the Janlokpal Bill it has been in vogue in Madhya Pradesh for over a decade now with people exercising the right in urban bodies but not at Gram Panchayats level, due to lack of awareness.

Madhya Pradesh is also the first and only state to introduce this concept for elected representatives at Gram Panchayats for greater accountability to the Gram Sabha.

The 'Right to Recall' is a critical tool designed to enable voters dissatisfied with an elected official to replace him before the expiry of his/her term of office. The recall mechanism provides a way for citizens to retain control over elected officials who are not representing the best interests of their constituents or who are unaccountable or ineffectual.

"We do have a Right to Recall provision in our Gram Panchayats and are pioneers in implementing this unique concept but till date not a single Gram Panchayat has exercised this right and only one has so far tried it unsuccessfully," Principal Secretary Panchayat and Rural Development, Aruna Sharma told PTI today.

However, she said that since the introduction of this provison, awareness among the people in rural areas on the issue has raised manifold but they don't understand their responsibility in this regard and this could be the reason behind Gram Panchayats unable to exercise this right effectively in the state.

The other reason is that action against erring elected representatives is taken by the concerned district collectors and divisional commissioners once they receive a complaint against them, she said.

BJP's Bhopal District's President (rural) Bhaktapal Singh said so far this right has not been exercised by the people in his area due to the lack of publicity among the rural masses about the concept, which holds that an elected representative is an agent, a servant and not a master.

Also, village is a micro community where people know each other quite well and therefore, they avoid disputes among themselves, he said.

Bhopal District (rural) Congress President Avnish Bhargava said most of the villagers are not aware of this provision.

Congress MLA from Depalpur (rural) constituency, Satya Narayan Patel also said that so far this right was not exercised by the people in his area in any village.

In villages people avoid disputes in such matter as they are living there as a group and don't believe in political confrontations, he said.

Though villagers of Chanderi in Sehore district have made a make-shift temple in honour of Anna Hazare, they are also not aware of the Right to Recall provision in the constitution.

M S Mewada, who motivated the villagers to establish Hazare's temple said, "I am not aware of it as nobody told anything about it so far."

He said that he will enquire about this provision with the panch/sarpanch and other officials.

However, the situation in urban bodies is quite different with 27 elected representatives being recalled by the people son.

Among the 27, who were recalled, 13 were re-elected while 14 lost in the subsequent election, sources said.


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