Staff Correspondent

TUMKUR: While 14.84 lakh voters will go to the polls on May 8 to elect 5,044 members of 320 gram panchayats in Tumkur district, 493 voters of Doddahatti, part of Ganjalgunte Gram Panchayat in Madhugiri taluk of the district, will abstain from voting.

There is a valid reason for their decision.

Doddahatti has to elect two members to the Ganjalagunte Gram Panchayat — one is reserved for the general category and the other for Backward Classes (B) category. However, all the 493 voters of Doddahatti belong to Backward Classes (A) category. The officials ignored this ground reality at the time of recommending reservation of seats.

Madhuchandra, the only educated person among them, is a MBA. He served as a gram panchayat member for the last three terms under general category. Ratnamma was elected for two terms and Kariyamma for one term under BC (A) category. They were elected unanimously each time. All the voters of Doddahatti took a decision not to contest both the seats as none of them could contest the BC (B) category seat.

Attempts by the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular), to sponsor candidates from among the voters of Ganjalagunte were frustrated as no voters came forward from Doddahatti to attest their candidatures, as required under law.

Mr. Madhuchandra was the mastermind behind the decision of the voters. He too stayed away from contesting the general category seat in solidarity with those aspiring for the other seat.