Overcoming physical challenges, a specially-abled woman is now the Sarpanch of Dahegaon & Waglud villages in Nasik district in Maharashtra. Kavita Bhondwe (34) was first elected as the head of the village panchayat in 2011, when she was just 25; she is now serving the second term as the Sarpanch. A Sarpanch is a member of the gram panchayat, and is elected by Gram Sabha the local self-government at village-level.
About the development the ANI has tweeted:
“Maharashtra: A 34-year-old specially-abled woman is serving the society as Sarpanch of 2 villages in Dindori Taluka, Nashik district.
Currently in her 2nd term, Kavita Bhondwe made changes in Gram Panchayats' affairs & stood up against illegal practices in Dahegaon & Waglud.” (sic)
Earlier people use to make fun of me, seeing me on crutches. However, I didn't give up & learnt from my father & village elders. Many did not like the fact that I became Sarpanch at the young age of 25 years: Kavita Bhondwe, Sarpanch of Dahegaon & Waglud villages, Nashik District https://t.co/t7V2nA7iMG pic.twitter.com/IIgWs0Ikkr
— ANI (@ANI) November 24, 2020
Reportedly, Kavita’s father was also a member of the Gram Panchayath earlier. However, lack of formal education limited his capabilities in his position; this is why he actively encouraged his educated daughter to contest the Gram Sabha election. Although she was ridiculed by many for using crutches, she ignored the humiliation to put her position to good use and fight the illegal activities in her village, she has told the ANI.
The Hindustan Times has stated that during her nine-year tenure as Sarpanch, Kavita has positively contributed to the lives of local residents. Reportedly, she has ensured that villages are provided with roads, drinking water supply, and houses for the poor, as well as promoted awareness on the need for girls’ education.
By law, one third of seats in panchayats are reserved for women, as are one-third of panchayat chairperson positions. A Sarpanch’s term is for five years, and the position demands her to be the point of contact between villagers and government officers. The Sarpanch is the leader among the five elected members which constitute the gram panchayat.