Malasa villagers hail inclusion in gen category
Faiz Rahman Siddiqui, TNN, Aug 14, 2010, 10.21pm IST

 KANPUR: Locals of Malasa in Ramabai Nagar have all the more reasons
to rejoice this Independence Day. Reason being the inclusion of the
much controversial Malasa seat in the general category.

Celebrations started in the thakur-dominated Malasa village- 60-km
from Kanpur- soon after the declaration of the seat under the general
category. As the news spread, the villagers, mostly people from the
upper-caste, started distributing sweets in the neighbourhood. The
other castes also shared their enthusiasm. "We are really happy that
finally the seat has been declared as general. It is a great news for
us, as now we can elect our representative," said Sunder Kureel, a

He said for the past five year, notification for elections was issued
on seven occasions but no one had come forward to file nomination
papers. Thus, he hoped the Malasa village would now be able to do so
in the coming panchayat elections, to be held in September.

Birju, another villager, said for the past couple of days, the village
was hogging the limelight and for all the right reasons. Earlier, the
Malasa seat was reserved for women. The last panchayat election was
held in 2000. In August 2005, it was declared as reserved for the
scheduled castes. After that, every effort to elect a gram pradhan and
15 members of the panchayat failed.

In 2008, when two dalits had come forward to file their nominations,
their candidature had been rejected. No one, including their own
caste, had come forward to propose and second their candidature, as
required for filing the nomination papers.

Chandrika Prasad, one of the contestants who had filed his nomination
papers, claimed: "We were being pressurised by the dominant thakurs
not to file nomination papers."

Bholey Singh, an upper-caste villager, said they had never stopped the
Dalits from filing nominations. "They themselves did not come forward
to contest election," he claimed.

However, Gokul Das, another dalit, hailed the decision. "It is a right
move. The Election Commission has finally declared it as a general
seat. The seat, which was declared as reserved for SC category,
constitutes a general population of 2,398, backward class- 514 and
schedule tribes- 121, out of the total 3,033 population in the
village. There are 1,400 voters, out of which nearly 1,250 votes are
of thakurs and the remaining four per cent are of dalits."

District magistrateSaroj Kumar Tiwari told TOI: "Our people carried
out a survey of all the 613 gram pradhan seats of the district and,
thereafter, the category of each seat was finalised. Two major
criteria, caste-wise population in the descending order and rotational
system of reservation, were taken into consideration before assigning
the categories."

He added: "Any objections over a gram pradhan seat may be registered
with the sub-divisional magistrate incharge of the tehsil. The last
date for submitting the objections is August 17. The objections will
be evaluated and sorted out on August 20, after which they will be
sent to the State Election Commission for final publication."

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