New Delhi: A 21-year-old girl has emerged as among the youngest candidates to become the Mukhia (head) of a village in Bihar in the ongoing local body elections. Anushka Singh, who completed her graduation from NMRKV College for Women, Bangalore, won the Mukhiya election from Kusahar panchayat, Sheohar district, by defeating her nearest rival by 287 votes. While Singh got 2625 votes, her rival got 2338 votes. There were a total of 12 candidates in the fray in the election where around 8,000 of the 12,000 eligible voters voted.
While speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Singh said that in her five-year tenure, she will bring in changes that will benefit the villagers.
“I want to work in a transparent manner and bring changes that will better the lives of people in this village. During my 20 days’ campaigning, during which I went to every household and covered every street and even went to places where there were no roads, I realized the things that I will have to do if I win the election. I will implement those changes,” she said.
According to her father Sunil Kumar, whose father was also a mukhiya of the village in the late 1990s and early 2000, there was a lot of pressure on him from the villagers to take steps to tackle the corruption that was taking place in the village. “I asked my daughter, who had been telling me that she wants to do ‘samaj sewa’ (social work), whether she would like to contest the mukhiya elections. She agreed. People of the village, like me, too, believed in her and ensured her victory.”
There are 16 wards and three villages in the Kusahar panchayat. Sheohar, which became a district in October 1994, saw massive developments under the two-year tenure of its first District Magistrate, Dr Bhagwati Sharan Mishra, who was an eminent Hindi novelist. Mishra passed away on 27 August this year at the age of 81.
Anushka, who contested on a “Moti ki mala” (pearl necklace) symbol, said that she will not be a “thumb” mukhiya, but will take independent decisions. “I have many ideas that I want to implement to improve the living conditions of my village. I have to live up to the belief that my villagers have reposed on me. As for my future political plans, I will leave to the people who have voted for me,” she said. There was no incidence of violence during the polls.
The Bihar election commission had announced the local level elections on 24 August for the roughly 2.59 lakh posts spread across 38 districts. The elections are being held in 11 phases, with the first phase taking place on 24 September. The last phase is on 12 December.