Pradeep Pattanayak

Until a few days ago, a BTech third year student, Subhasmita Sahu’s identity was a job holder at a company in India’s financial capital. Now she is an aspiring people's representative. 

Subhasmita says she always had a kind of urge to serve people somewhere and the recent announcement of three-tier Panchayat election in her native State came at the most opportune moment. It sparked the flame in her to plunge into politics so much so that she started feeling her high-paid salary in Mumbai as vapid, uninteresting. Now backed by the Congress, she has filed her nomination as a Zilla Parishad candidate from Zone-1 of Astarang in Puri district. 

“No doubt, I was drawing a handsome salary. Yet, the mental satisfaction was missing. The calling for serving my villagers had been making me restless. Despite being qualified, if I can’t do something for my village, my district and my State, then what is the use of my being qualified,” observed Subhasmita whose aim is to root out corruption and develop tourist spots in her locality. 

If Odisha Panchayat Elections will be remembered for many aspects, then the most distinguished one will be the foray of brigade of intelligent youths into politics who value common good above all else. Because Subhasmita is not the alone, there are several others who have either resigned from their lucrative jobs or left their education midway through only to serve people. 

Smrutirekha Behera, 23, currently pursuing her MSC (Microbiology) at Bhadrak College is a Zilla Parishad candidate, contesting on a BJD ticket from Zone no-13 of Dharmasala block in Jajpur district.
“Educated youths joining politics is a good sign because educated people can only shape the society and give it a proper direction,” maintained Behera. 

Like Subhasmita and Smrutirekha, Pinki Behera, a BTech student, has also seen the politics as a medium to reach out to common people and solve their problems. She has filed nomination for Sarpanch post of Pathara panchayat in Khalikote block in Ganjam district. The Sarpanch post is reserved for woman. “My only aim behind joining politics is to serve people and I am hopeful that I will win and fulfill my desire and aspirations of the public,” said Behera. 

Similarly, some others like Deepak Barla, Sujit Lakra, Roshan Kisan and Manai Munda have filed their nominations as Sarpanch candidates for Koida panchayat in Sundargarh district. Of them, Deepak is an engineer and his thoughts are quite similar to those of Subhasmita, Smrutirekha and Pinki Behera. 

“Unemployment problem is excruciating in our locality. Besides this, genuine beneficiaries are still waiting to get a pucca house, due to one or the other reasons. My sole aim of joining politics is to work for these people who are in trouble and difficulties,” said Deepak.