As UP goes to polls for gram panchayats elections, members of some families have remained in the post of Gram Pradhans for long, some as early as the 1950s. In the gram panchayats seats including- Mukundpur of Prayagraj, Duhwa of Basti and Sumerpur of Unnao; members of the same family have been elected Gram Pradhans repeatedly barring once or twice since independence.
Like other terms, once again in this panchayat elections, people of these families have either entered the fray or are preparing for the same.
The Village Pradhan post of Mukundpur in Holagarh block of Prayagraj has been with the Dev family since 1952 except for one election. It started with Mahadev Prasad Shukla. Later, he was also the head of Bahadurpur block for three consecutive times. After him, the younger brother, nephew and then the son-in-law and later through his great-grandson, the post of the Village Pradhan reached his great-grandson’s wife.
The situation in Amhua gram panchayat of Phulpur block is also similar. In the gram panchayat seat, except for two elections, members of a family have been the village heads for three generations. The father of Masoom Khan used to the Pradhan earlier, then his brother Alam Khan held the post, then sister-in-law Asiya Begum which later went on to Salim Khan, son of Alam Khan and his wife Shabnam Begum.
In 1952 in the Duhwa Gram Panchayat of Gaur block of Basti district, the late freedom fighter Sitaram Singh Pradhan became the village Pradhan and held the post till 1981. After his death in 1981, his son Ganesh Singh and his wife Sharda Singh took over the reins of the village. When the Duhwa Gram Panchayat was reserved for the backward caste in 2010, the family managed to make their driver Bansraj Yadav win the election. In 2015, Sudama Singh, the wife of Sitaram Singh’s elder son Awadhesh Singh, became the Pradhan. In this manner, the monopoly of the family over Duhwa gram panchayat has remained for seven decades. Since 1982, people belonging to the same family have been becoming block heads.
In many districts of Purvanchal like Varanasi, there are some families whose members have been in power at the village elections since the time when the Panchayati Raj system came into force. Such is the family of former Ballia minister Bacha Pathak.
In Jaunpur, the family of Nanhaku Yadav have been in power for 37 years. The house of Bhrigunath Chauhan of Hauz village in Jaunpur had the post of Pradhan for 25 years.
Darshan Singh Yadav has been the Pradhan in Saifai Gram Panchayat from 1972 to October 2020. He also happens to be the childhood friend of Mulayam Singh Yadav. Elections are now being held after his death in October 2020. This time the post of head has been reserved for SC women in Saifai Gram Panchayat.
In the Sahila Gram Panchayat of Unnao’s Sumerpur block, the Bajpayee family has remained in power since independence. Dr Ramvishal Bajpayee was the head of the village from independence till 1995. When the seat was reserved in 1995, the family made their assistant Premlal contest the election of Pradhan which he won. In 2000, Sivakumari Bajpayee, Dr Ramvishal’s daughter-in-law, became the head. When she became a member of the Zilla Panchayat in 2015, her daughter-in-law Kiran Bajpayee contested as the Pradhan and won, she is also contesting this time.
Gujarati Gram Panchayat was formed in 1965 in Sarwankheda block of Kanpur Dehat. Ram Ganesh Trivedi, father of MLA Mahesh Trivedi from Kanpur Nagar, won unopposed for the first time till 2000. In 2000, his family did not contest any election. Umesh Trivedi the nephew of Ram Ganesh Trivedi won the election in 2005. In 2010, when the seat was reserved for backward class, Shashi Devi Kushwaha became the head. In 2015, once again Umesh Trivedi became the Village Pradhan. This time no one will be able to contest from this family as the seat is now reserved for backward classes.
For 20 years, Gajrani Devi, the mother of former minister and current Balamau MLA Rampal Varma, was elected as the village Pradhan from Attia Shahpur of Kothawa development block of Hardoi. She was elected Gram Pradhan four times in a row from 1995 to 2015. In the year 2015, the MLA’s wife Sarojini became the Village Head unopposed. Sarojini Devi will also be elected unopposed in the 2021 election once again as no one has filed a nomination against her.
The family of Rambabu Yadav, who has been a Minister of State in the SP government since 1962 in Hardauli Gram Panchayat of Auraiya, is holding the post of Village Pradhan. In 1962, Ujiyare Lal Yadav was the Village head, then Ram Babu Yadav and Shyam Babu Yadav, Sushma Devi, Hari Babu and Pradeep Kumar of the same family were elected as village Pradhan.