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In Karnataka, Malligawad villagers boycott polls again

On Sunday, while the rest of the villages in the taluk were witnessing heavy turnout for polling, the residents of Malligawada staged a demonstration after announcing that they were again boycotting the poll.

The residents of Malligawad village in Hubballi taluk of Dharwad district, boycotted the election again to register their protest against what they term as faulty gram panchayat restructuring exercise because of which their village was deprived of being named a gram panchayat.

The village has six gram panchayat seats and the residents of the village had boycotted the gram panchayat elections in 2015 too. Subsequently although the by-elections were declared for the six seats, the village residents again had boycotted them.

On Sunday, while the rest of the villages in the taluk were witnessing heavy turnout for polling, the residents of Malligawada staged a demonstration after announcing that they were again boycotting the poll.

Their main grouse is that their village should have been made a Gram Panchayat headquarters during the restructuring of gram panchayats, which led to creation of new gram panchayats. The village has a population of over 2,000.

“When the new gram panchayat was created out of Umachagi and Malligawad villages, we expected our village to be the headquarters considering its population and the number of seats (six) it had compared to five in Umachagi village. However due to political pressure Umachagi was made gram panchayat headquarters”, said C.V. Hiremath, a retired teacher.

Mr. Hiremath told the press persons visiting the village on Sunday that they had all the facilities like a hospital, a bank within one kilometre, and other basic amenities. “If we have to go the gram panchayat office, either we have to walk 7 kilometres or take the circuitous bus route of 14 kilometres. That too there is no proper bus facility. It is cumbersome for the residents every time they have a work in the panchayat office”, he said.

The residents of Malligawad have already moved to the court seeking panchayat headquarters for their village and is still pending before the court from the last five years. The residents have decided to boycott every election until their demand is met.

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