Maha: CPI(M)’s Impressive Victories in Gram Panchayat Elections
THE CPI(M) captured 93 posts of the sarpanch (gram panchayat president) by direct election in the recently concluded round of gram panchayat (village panchayat) elections in the state. The Party has done quite well, especially in its traditional adivasi strongholds of Nashik and Thane-Palghar districts. This round of gram panchayat elections was not state wide, since only 1,165 gram panchayats in the state went to the polls. The voting was on October 16, 2022, and the counting was on October 17.
The earlier system in gram panchayat elections was the election of gram panchayat members from different wards in a village. These members then elected their sarpanch. But in this round, due to a change in the rules made by the present BJP-dominated state government, there were direct elections to the post of sarpanch, with the entire village voting for this post. Gram panchayat members were simultaneously elected from the various wards in the village.
The 93 sarpanch posts won by the CPI(M) district-wise are as follows: Nashik (59), Thane-Palghar (26), Ahmednagar (6), Nandurbar (1) and Pune (1). In some gram panchayats the Party lost the sarpanch post narrowly. However, it could win a majority of the elected gram panchayat members in many such cases. It thus has a majority in over 100 gram panchayats in the above districts. The Party won hundreds of gram panchayat seats in over 150 villages.
Most of the winning candidates in these districts work in the AIKS, AIDWA, DYFI and AIAWU.
The number of sarpanch posts won tehsil-wise in Nashik district is as follows: Surgana – 33, Kalwan – 8, Tryambakeshwar – 7, Dindori – 6, Peth – 5. The total number of gram panchayat seats won in the district runs into hundreds.
The number of sarpanch posts won tehsil-wise in Thane-Palghar districts is as follows: Dahanu – 8, Jawhar – 5, Talasari – 4, Wada – 4, Vikramgad – 3, Shahapur – 1, Murbad – 1. Of these 26 sarpanches, 11 are women. In these two districts, which are under one district committee since they were in the undivided Thane district earlier, the Party won 291 gram panchayat member seats. 159 of them are women.
A large function to felicitate the winners in Thane-Palghar districts was held on October 23 at Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Bhawan at Talasari in Palghar district. They were all felicitated by presenting them with red scarves of the Party and a book of revolutionary songs in Marathi and Hindi, titled Woh Subah Kabhi To Aayegi, recently published by the AIKS Maharashtra state committee. Along with the winners, over 1,000 main activists of the Party and mass fronts from all the above tehsils attended.
The meeting began by paying homage to CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and former Central Committee member Kumar Shiralkar. Polit Bureau member Ashok Dhawale outlined the sterling contributions made by both these leaders.
CPI(M) district secretary and state secretariat member Kiran Gahala made the speech of introduction, state secretariat member and MLA Vinod Nikole presided, and state secretariat member Kisan Gujar greeted the winners.
Ashok Dhawale made the concluding speech in which, while warmly congratulating all the winners and Party activists, he dealt with the current political challenges, and the responsibility of the newly elected members and the local Party leadership in running the gram panchayats in a clean, transparent and pro-people manner. He also pinpointed the weaknesses in this election that must be overcome at the earliest.
Over Rs 3,000 worth of the recent issues of the Party's state committee weekly Jeewan Marg were sold in the Talasari meeting.
In another 500-strong felicitation meeting held at Surgana in Nashik district on October 23, Central Committee member J P Gavit, ex-MLA, and state committee members Subhash Choudhary, Bhika Rathod and Indrajit Gavit felicitated all the winners from Surgana tehsil.
The Maharashtra state committee of the CPI(M) thanked the voters for showing their faith in the Party, which had striven hard to solve the people's problems at the grassroots. The recent peasant struggles in Maharashtra led by the AIKS also had a good impact on the results. The Party congratulated all the winning candidates and the Party workers for an impressive show.
In this round of elections in the state as a whole, it was good that the opportunist, corrupt and communal BJP-Shinde combine was clearly edged out by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
Within a few months, a mini general election will be held in Maharashtra. Most of the municipal corporations, many municipal councils, and most of the zilla parishads and panchayat samitis will be going to the polls. Actually, these elections were due in the beginning of 2022. But due to factors like Covid, OBC reservation, etc they were postponed.
The gains in this round of elections must be consolidated by the CPI(M) and by the Left, democratic and secular forces in the next vital round of elections.