The Haryana government is likely to appeal for re-election in wards where no candidate contested for any post. The decision is likely to be taken after evaluating the number of vacant posts after the three-phase elections.
In the first phase of the election held on Sunday, there were no candidates for 615 posts of panches.
Haryana Panchayats and Development Minister O P Dhankar said, “We will ensure that all the posts are filled.”
As per the amended Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, general category candidates are required to have successfully completed Class 10, while women and schedule caste candidates should have passed Class 8. For SC women, it is Class 5. The candidates also need to have cleared pending electricity bills and should not be defaulters of loans taken from co-operative banks. Many say the conditions added in the amended law could be a reason why there are so many constituencies with no candidate.
As per data from the State Election Commission, 74 posts for panches would remain vacant in Jind, while 63 posts of panches will remain vacant in Mewat and 51 in Yamunanagar. In Sonipat, 46 posts of panches will remain vacant, 42 in Fatehabad and 41 in Kaithal.
“There was no person who fulfilled the criteria. While there were candidates who fulfilled the educational qualifications, some of them had pending dues. Due to this, nominations could not be filed. It is for the first time that such a situation has arisen when we will not have full strength of panches,” said Ashok Saini, outgoing sarpanch of Sarfabad village, where three of the seven posts of panches will remain vacant.
A total of 55,440 nominations were received for the post of panches for the first phase of elections. Of these, 16,871 were rejected for non-fulfilment of the requisite criteria following scrutiny of papers.
In village Bada Dampura in district Yamunanagar, there is no candidate for one post of panch. The outgoing sarpanch Ashok Kumar feels that there should have been some relaxation in the criteria. “The minimum qualification should have been kept as Class 5,” he said.