Politics of ‘chaudhar’: Village clans hold meetings to select candidates in Haryana : The Tribune India


Tribune News Service

Sunit Dhawan

Rohtak, October 18

With the atmosphere of villages getting charged up in view of the upcoming elections to the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), aspirants for various posts are seeking the blessings of village elders and their clan members.

Members of different ‘thollas’ (clans) and ‘paannas’ (village sectors) are holding meetings to select the candidates to be fielded from their side.

The aspirants for the posts of sarpanches and members of village panchayats, block samitis and zila parishads are leaving no stone unturned to come to power, with money and liquor flowing freely in a bid to woo the voters.

“The most coveted post is that of the sarpanch, which symbolises the ‘chaudhar’ of a village. All prominent clans of a village wish to retain the post. Village residents also want that the sarpanch is from their ‘paanna’ so that they can enjoy the ‘chaudhar’ and get their works done,” says Raj Singh Hooda, a political observer.

Old-timers point out that earlier, village elders used to have informal agreements to have sarpanches from different ‘paannas’ turn-wise, but now the lust for power has put an end to the trend.

Nonetheless, the practice of selecting a candidate from a ‘tholla’, which comprises hundreds of members of a clan having a common ancestry, still continues.

“A meeting of our ‘tholla’, which comprises nearly 650 members, was held today, at which it was decided that my wife Jyoti, who gives tuition to children, will be fielded for the post of village sarpanch from our side,” said Kushal Dhaka, a resident of Sundana village.

Dhaka, who is an Army man, stated that the village residents who are settled elsewhere for their jobs or businesses, also come to the village to cast their votes in the panchayat elections.

A number of candidates have put up huge hoardings, posters, banners and boards to make their presence felt. Some of them have also launched social media campaigns to attract young voters.


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