He has not tried to move up the ladder either

When Suralpady Abdul Majeed first contested a panchayat election 27 years ago, he was a youngster with a head full of thick black hair.

“I have lost almost every strand of hair on my head over the years, but never have I lost an election,” said Mr. Majeed (51), who won his fourth straight panchayat election on Monday.

He was 28 when he won his first election in 1987 to the then Mandal Panchayat of Kuppepadavu and Ganjimatha. He was the panchayat president in all the following three terms. A believer in the ideal of decentralised governance that the Panchayati Raj system aims at upholding, Mr. Majeed said that he had several opportunities to “move up the ladder”, but desisted.

Defending his decision to stick to grassroots democracy, this former Congress block president said, “Only at the gram panchayats, where political parties are absent, can one serve the people without fear and political interference.” He said that despite being a Congress worker, he had the support from all sections and added, “That is the greatness of the panchayat system.”

More In: Mangaluru