A 71-year-old tribal woman has become the chairperson of a panchayat samiti in Odisha's Ganjam district for a record third consecutive term.

Saibani Mallick has been elected unanimously as the chairperson of the Sorada Panchayat Samiti, which has 26 panchayats.

The election for the chairperson, the top post, which was reserved for Scheduled Tribes Women, was held on Saturday.

Earlier, she was the chairperson of the samiti in 2012 and 2017 after winning from the tribal-dominated Gangapur panchayat. This time, she contested from the Bhagabanpur panchayat.

Mallick, a four-time samiti member, is the only woman in Ganjam, which has 22 panchayat samitis, to become the chairperson for the third time, an official said.

The septuagenarian's political journey started in 1993 when she was elected as a ward member in her village. In 2002, she was nominated as a samiti member for the first time in Gangapur panchayat, he added.