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Leading from No Where: Story of Dilip
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  Dilip Rathod, 36 yers, graduate, lives in Maharana Pratap Nagar of Aurad Panchayat of Omerga block of Aurad village of Omerga District. Maharana Pratap Nagar is a small hamlet of Laman community, situated at 3 km from Aurad village,  a main Gram Panchayat.  Resolute, cheerful and vocal Dilip is more concerned for the development of habitations. His aspiration led him to associate with Samarthya. He undergone several training arranged by the Samarthya on gender, panchayati Raj Institution and legal issues.

Mr. Rathod used to help people to avail various citizenry documents, rationing cards and Aadhar Cards. He has been facilitating to avail government schemes for needy. Housing, pension, livelihood related schemes are made use of. His contacts with Government deptts and Pananchayat officials increased. “Our people are ignorant and they do not possess proper documents and are unaware of the procedure to avail Schemes, its youth, who are graudate can show the path to follow rules and help people benefit from schemes” urges Dilip in Youth Group meetings. His speech on the reasons of poverty inspires youth to take lead. With his quality of leadership and energy to help people, made him President of Youth Group in Maharana Pratap Nagar.

“We have incessant energy to bring about change in our community, hitherto deprived from education and basic amenities. It is our responsibility to help them restore their dignity” adds Dilip during Shram Daan to make habitation clean. Elders and other Jaat Panchayat members noticed his efforts and started respecting him.

Dilip led several initiatives in Maharana Pratap Nagar. His works and leadership qualities made people follow him. His name was suggested to lead activities. Panchayat election were to held soon. Everyone wants Dilip to contest. In the past, no person was willing to contest, in fact, candidates were proposed from other villages who were ruling traditionally. They do not want a person from Laman community to contest.  People in Maharana Pratap Nagar were following and voting as they were induced with either cash or good food. However, this time the situation is different. Dilip took note of all the circumstances and stood up to contest this time. Although it was difficult to contest independently, Dilip tried to make people aware of the reasons of being backward, this is time to support. In the past no representative from the Laman community had ever contested and won the elections. The hamlet was 3 kilometers away from the main village and two Laman hamlets under this village were not united. Discrimination against the Laman community also meant that there would be very little support for Dilip’s candidature from the mainstream community.

The youth group members discussed this among themselves and concluded that it was essential to unite both the Laman hamlets and ensure their support for Dilip so that he stood a chance of winning the elections. A hamlet Sabha was held and in the meeting Dilip’s candidature was announced and unanimously supported by both the hamlet residents. It was agreed that all residents of both hamlets would vote for Dilip. Campaigns were undertaken to propagate Dilip’s candidature. Plan of transforming hamlets were made public through speeches and campaigns.  As a result, Dilip won the gram panchayat elections and this ensured that there was a representative from the Laman community in the panchayat. Dilip strategically ensured that a representative from the Dalit community who has won the election was made the Sarpanch and chose the post of the Deputy Sarpanch for himself for the 2.5 years of his 5 years tenure.

Soon after getting elected, Dilip chalked out works to be undertaken in hamlets. He first took the issue of recognizing Laman hamlet as Revenue Village under Govt’s Resolution passed in 1969. He arranged all the documents and submitted it to the revenue deptt. He came forward and lobbied to allocate fund for making provision of drinking water in hamlets. He also took some initiatives in mobilizing community contribution towards making digital schools.

Dilip’s enthusiasm and able to take decision quickly made him popular in the village. His leadership proved to be beneficial for all. Today, two hamlets are having drinking water at their doorstep, approach road with main village is laid and School become digital. This all added in Dilip’s popularity.

Dilip’s effort was to put people first on development agenda. For this, he took the initiative in celebrating Independence Day which was never celebrated in the last 50 years. This celebration is marked to the restoration of dignity of people who are denied of citizenry rights! Thanks to the leadership of Dilip!

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