Pradeep Pattanayak

Parameshwar Mallick has been the centre of discussion ever since he filed nomination for the post of Ward member from Ward No-4 of Mangalpur Panchayat under Tihidi block in Bhadrak district.

Mallick is not a rich person, nor does he have political experience. Yet, he has been the cynosure of all eyes because despite his physical impediments, he is in the fray for the crucial rural body polls. 
Born without arms, Parameshwar filed up the papers using his leg. The scene moved one and all who witnessed him writing with his leg. They couldn’t help thinking about his indomitable spirit and resolve to serve the society.

Parameshwar has never ever let his deformity to bother him at any stage of his life. Rather, he took it positively and overcame all obstacles with sheer determination and strong will power. If he has come this far in life, it is because of the urge within him to paddle his own canoe. Parameshwar has been instrumental in all the developmental works carried out in the village. This has endeared him to the villagers. In order to carry forward his service, he has decided to fight the elections. He is contesting from Ward No-4 of Mangalpur Panchayat as an independent candidate. “There are many things to be done in my locality. We don’t have an all weather road, a tube well, eligible beneficiaries are not getting pucca houses while the deserving are doing rounds of offices to get pensions. With an aim to help these people, I have joined politics,” said Parameshwar. 

Like Parameshwar, a good number of differently abled persons are in the fray this Panchayat election. 

One such aspirant is Saroj Bariha, a Zilla Parishad aspirant for Zone No-I of Gaisilet Block under Padmapur sub-division in Bargarh district. A polio-afflicted, Saroj of Mundapali village may not have support from any political party, but has the support from his villagers. “Despite my deformity, I have come forward to serve the society,” said Saroj. 

Like Parameshwar and Saroj, Ramachandra Munda is contesting for the Sarpanch post in Haladikudar Panchayat under Lahunipada block of Sundargarh district. Ramchandra lost his right hand in an accident. But he did not lose hope. He has since been drawing his strength from his never-say-die attitude. He said he joined politics with an aim to transform his Gram Panchayat into an ideal Panchayat. “I am physically challenged. Yet I am determined to prove my mettle. I will develop Haladikudar Panchayat as one of the best Panchayats in Odisha,” said Ramchandra. 

These days another differently abled person P Chandrama Reddy was seen moving from door to door, garnering support from her. She is contesting for Sarpanch post at Mendarajpur panchayat in Berhampur. She is trying her luck in politics only to serve people in a better way. “People of my area are bugged by several problems. If I win, I will help them in getting their works done,” Reddy maintained. 

Jayanti Ekka, who is a Zilla Parishad aspirant for Zone No-II of Balashankara Block in Sundargarh district, is also a physically challenged person. She can’t walk properly. Leaving her pain behind, she has joined politics to work for the people. “There are nine Panchayats under Zone I where I am contesting. I have been touring the villages, touching every doorstep. I am confident of winning the election,” said Jayanti. 

There are experienced politicians including ex-Ministers, highly qualified youths and differently abled persons in the fray which makes the Panchayat elections even more exciting to watch. Whether experience, or education, or uncompromising determination will work remains a Million Dollar question to be answered.

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