Sancoale gets sarpanch as villagers force ‘election’


There was high drama in Sancoale on Monday as some panchas and local residents forced a government officer to hold the election to the post of sarpanch, though the government servant had come to announce the adjournment of the election. Presiding officer Mahesh Nadkarni, an official from the BDO's office, held the election after he was gheraoed by the crowd who also took away his cellphone.
On Monday morning locals gathered outside the panchayat building for the election but were disappointed when Nadkarni brought the adjourned notice issued by the directorate of panchayats. Nadkarni was gheraoed, and forced to conduct the election.
His cellphone was taken away and he was not allowed to make or receive any call as locals demanded that he conduct the elections.
"I had come with the order of the panchayat director informing that today's election was adjourned but was forced to go against the order and conduct the election," Nadkarni said.
"Nadkarni has submitted a detailed report of Monday's developments to the panchayat director for necessary action," Mormugao BDO Manuel Barreto told TOI.
Sources said Nadkarni informed the director that he was forced to conduct the election under duress. Sources said eight members were present and Ramakant Borkar was 'elected' the new sarpanch.
In January, Borkar had been removed as sarpanch after a no confidence motion was passed against him. The panchayats department had not conducted a fresh election to the post since then. The election, scheduled for March 1, was postponed.
Borkar had then appealed before the high court of Bombay at Goa on the issue regarding the election. On March 5 the HC directed the panchayats department to hold the election within three weeks from the date of order. The election was scheduled for Monday.
Congress spokesman Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco alleged that the BJP government had deferred the election and was playing petty politics to prevent the opposition from gaining control of the panchayat.
Sancoale village forms part of Cortalim constituency which is represented by forest and environment minister Alina Saldanha. Borkar was one of the candidates in the March 2012 assembly elections. [TOI]