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CHAPTER - V

THE PANCHAYAT EXECUTIVE


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The panchayat executive

This chapter deals with the Panchayat executive-Political

(Sarpanch) and Official (Executive Officer). It examines the mode

of appointment, powers and functions and role of these two types

of executives. Further, the problems faced by them in discharge

of their functions, their relations with the other functionaries

and public are also discussed in this Chapter.

In any major Panchayat in Andhra Pradesh there are two types

of executives. They are: political executive and permanent

executive. The political executive is the Sarpanch who is

directly elected by all the voters of the village. He is the

head of political wing of the Panchayat which takes necessary

policy decisions for running the administration of the Gram

Panchayat and also supervises their execution. The permanent

executive known as the Executive Officer who is an appointee of

the State Government executes the policy decisions taken by the

Panchayat. The Executive Officer ^

is subordinated to the Panchayat. However, he plays a

crucial role in the administration of the Village Panchayat.

THE SARPANCH

The office of Sarpanch being a position of importance in the

system of Gram Panchayat has become the bone of contention for


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contending groups. This Office is keenly contested mainly because

it throws up opportunities for high level contacts1. The

Sarpanch occupies a vital place in the Panchayat structure2. He

is the backbone of Village Panchayat. The development of village

depends upon the administrative skills, innovative capacity and

leadership qualities of the Sarpanch. If the Sarpanch possesses a

good deal of efficiency and caliber it gives him an upper hand in

controlling the bureaucracy of the Panchayat who generally do not

have sympathetic attitude towards the development of village. The

officials are more concerned about the enforcement of rules and

regulations than meeting the problems of the people of the

Village. Hence, the Sarpanch has to mend the attitudes of the

bureaucrats and lead them towards the achievement of the goals

of this grassroot level agency. He should also have boldness to


3
warn and restrain villagers when their demands are unreasonable .

It is evident that the progress of the Village Panchayat depends

upon the capacity of the Sarpanch to implement the programmes

such as family planning programme, compulsory primary education

programme and. so on. Along with the administrative abilities,

the Sarpanch should possess good mannerism to get the obedience

and respect of the people for his policies and programmes.

Further, he needs to have the capacity to face critical

situations. He must also have the ability to keep the majority

of Panchayat members under his control to carry out his


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programmes for the development of the village smoothly. In the

opinion of Bhargava developmental functions allotted to

Panchayati Raj institutions have posed a challenge to the

emerging leadership. This calls for courage, responsibility and

imagination on the part of the leaders. They must be quick to

respond to the changing circumstances to assume new functions


whenever they arise^.

In order to understand the actual role of Sarpanch in the

Panchayat administration it is essential to examine the election

system, the socio-economic and Political background of the

Sarpanches, the statutory powers granted to them by the

provisions of the existing Panchayat Acts and Rules, his

relations with the ward members, Panchayat Officials and the

different sections in the village which are discussed in the

following pages.

The Election of Sarpanch:

In the past, according to the Gram Panchayats Act 1964, the

Sarpanch of a' Gram Panchayat was indirectly elected by the


5
members of Gram Panchayat . The indirect method of election to

the post of Sarpanch was changed by amending the Gram Panchayats

Act, in 1976. According to this amendment the Sarpanch shall

directly be elected by the voters whose names appear in the


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electoral rolls of the Gram Panchayat. Presently, the Sarpanch

is directly elected by the voters of Panchayat. This system came

into force from the Gram Panchayat elections held in 1981.

Term of Office of the Sarpanch:

According to the provisions of the Gram Panchayat Act of

1964 the term of office of Sarpanch is five years. But in actual

practice the term of the Sarpanch was extended beyond 5 years on

several occassions since the Government never conducted the

elections to the Gram Panchayats in the State as per schedule.

Removal of the Sarpanch:

According to the provisions of the existing Act, the

Commissioner of Panchayati Raj can remove the Sarpanch of a

village Panchayat who, in his opinion, willfully omits or refuses

to carry out or disobeys the provisions of this Act or rules, by

laws, regulations and lawful orders issued from time to time or

abuse his position or powers vested in him by the Act.

The Act prescribes that whenever the Commissioner proposes

to remove a Sarpanch, he should give the latter an opportunity

for explanation and the notification issued should contain a

statement of the reasons for the proposed action. Any Sarpanch

aggrieved by an order issued by the ,Commissioner, can appeal to


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the Government within thirty days of the publication of such

notification.

On the basis of the report of the District Panchayat

Officer,if the Commissioner is satisfied that the Sarpanch of a

Gram Panchayat had abused his position or the powers vested in

him, and that the further continuance of such a person in office

would be detrimental to the interests of the Gram Panchayat. He

can suspend the Sarpanch for a period not exceeding three months
and report the matter to the Government^.

Powers and Functions of the Sarpanch:

The Gram Panchayats Act, 1964 vested a wide range of powers

and functions upon the Sarpanch. Accordingly, he exercises all

the powers and performs all the functions specifically conferred

upon him by this Act. It is the primary responsibility and duty

of the Sarpanch to convene the meetings of the Gram Panchayat at

least once in every month and also the meetings of Gram Sabha

twice in every year. The Sarpanch takes all the necessary steps

for the smooth conduct of the meetings of the Panchayat. As the

presiding officer, the Sarpanch preserves order and decorum in

the meetings of the Panchayat and decides all points of order

arising at these meetings. There shall be no discussion on any

point of order without the permission of Sarpanch and the


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decision of the Sarpanch on any point of order is final. He can

prohibit any member from voting or from taking part in the

discussions on any issue in the meetings of the Panchayat. If it

is believed by any member present at the meeting that the

Sarpanch has pecuniary interest in any issue under discussion

and if a motion is moved to that effect the Sarpanch shall not


7
vote or take part in such discussion .

As per the Gram Panchayats Act, if the Sarpanch fails to

convene a meeting of the Gram Panchayat for a period of ninety

days from the last meeting, he ceases to be the Sarpanch and also

ceases to exercise the powers or perform the functions of the

Sarpanch. Further, he is not eligible to be reelected as


8
Sarpanch .

The Sarpanch is the ex-officio chairman of all the

functional committees formed in the Panchayat. In the sphere of

administration also the Sarpanch can exercise a few powers.He has

full access to the records of the Gram Panchayat. He exercises

administrative control over the Executive Officer in the

implementation of the resolutions of the Gram Panchayat and of

its committees. He can require any village officer within the

jurisdiction of the Gram Panchayat to furnish any information

about any person or property required for any purpose of the

Panchayat. The Sarpanch is entrusted with certain financial


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powers such as preparation of the budget of the Panchayat and

operation of Panchayat funds.

Devolution and Delegation of Sarpanch's Powers and Functions:

According to Panchayats Act, when the office of Sarpanch is

vacant the Upa-Sarpanch shall exercise the powers and perform the

functions of the Sarpanch until a new Sarpanch is elected and

assumes office. Further, the Act specifies the instances when

the Sarpanch can devolve or delegate his powers to the

Upa-Sarpanch. Accordingly, if the Sarpanch has been continuously

absent from the jurisdiction for more than 15 days or restrained

by a court from exercising his powers and performing his

functions during that period, they will devolve on the Upa-

Sarpanch. In case the Upa-Sarpanch has been continuously absent

from the jurisdiction for more than fifteen days or restrained by

an order of the court, the powers and functions of Sarpanch

shall devolve on a member.of Gram Panchayat appointed by the

Commissioner.

The Act also provides that the Sarpanch can delegate any of

his powers and functions to the Upa-Sarpanch, and in his absence

to any member with such restrictions and limitations which he


thinks necessary^.
It is observed in Pedanandipadu Panchayat that the Sarpanch

had never delegated his powers to the Upa-Sarpanch or in his

absence to any member of Panchayat.

UPA-SARPANCHs

As envisaged by^Gram Panchayats Act each Panchayat consists

of a Upa-Sarpanch who is elected by the members of the Gram

Panchayat, in the prescribed manner. A special meeting for the

election of the Upa- Sarpanch will be convened on the same day on

which the results of the Panchayat elections have been declared.

The notice of the meeting for the election of Upa- Sarpanch shall
be given to the members.^ So far, all the Upa- Sarpanches were

elected unanimously in the Pedanandipadu Panchayat.

RELATIONS BETWEEN SARPANCH AND UPA-SARPANCH IN PEDANANDIPADU

PANCHAYAT:

It is observed that since the beginning, no cordial

relations existed between the Sarpanch and the Upa-Sarpanch in

Pedanandipadu Panchayat.There used to be difference of opinion or

conflict between these two functionaries on several issues. In

1964, the Sarpanch Mr. N.C. and the Upa-Sarpanch Mr.N.S.R.

differed on the removal of encroachments from the (poramboke)

waste lands which belonged to the Panchayat. Mrs.K.R.L. who


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became the Opa- Sarpanch of the Pedanandipadu Panchayat in 1978

had all the time strained relations with the Sarpanch Mr.N.C. He

never trusted her and did not entrust her with any responsibility

at any time. But the fact remains that she originally belonged

to his group. The relations between them were strained because

of certain reasons. Once, she requested Mr.N.C. to cancel the

transfer order of a teacher of the elementary school who was a

close friend of her family. Mr.N.C did not oblige her. As a

result, she got annoyed and left his group. In the same way,

Mr.L.A.S. who became the Opa- Sarpanch in 1981 maintained good

relations with Mr.N.C. in the beginning of his term. But when

he refused to join the Telugu Desam Party' on the advice of

Mr.L.ft.^' their relations became hostile and they turned as

opponents. Afterwards,he formed his own group in the Panchayat

against Mr./V.In course of time Mr.L.A.S. became popular among

the villagers because of his keen interest in the progress of the

village. He became very strong and started playing a more

powerful role than the Sarpanch (Mr.N.C.) in the affairs of the

Panchayat. In the Panchayat elections held in 1988, he contested

against Mr. N.C. for the office of Sarpanch and also got elected

with considerable majority. In these elections Mr. M.Y. who

belonged to the Scheduled Castes Community became the Upa-

Sarpanch. As in the past, the relations between the Sarpanch and

the Upa-Sarpanch were never smooth and cordial. Mr.L.A.S. never


211

allowed anybody including the Upa-Sarpanch to play any role in

the administration of the Panchayat. He never used to consult

even with the Upa-Sarpanch on any issue. Thus the position of

Upa-Sarpanch during the time of Mr.L.A.S was reduced to a figure

head and he played only a nominal role in the affairs of the

Panchayat throughout his tenure. Since Pedanandipadu is a major

Panchayat, the Executive Officer is made responsible for running

the entire administration of the Panchayat. On account of this

fact, even though good relations never existed between the

Sarpanch and Upa-Sarpanch, it never affected the administration

of the Panchayat.

Sarpanch's relations with the Members:

Till 1981, the Sarpanches of Village Panchayats in Andhra

pradesh were elected by the members of the Village Panchayats.

Hence,until the end of this period the members had complete

control over the Sarpanches who had to act according to their

wishes.The members of the Panchayat used to threaten the Sarpanch-

with removal from the office, if he failed to oblige them. In the

Panchayat elections held in Pedanandipadu in 1964 the Sarpanch

was elected unanimously by the members. But, later differences

developed between the Sarpanch and some prominent members of the

Panchayat. The main reason;# for these differences between them

was that certain proposals initiated by the Sarpanch Mr.N.C. such


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as the maintenance of side drains by the Panchayat, imposition of

encroachment tax, increase in the existing rate of profession tax

and so on were opposed by these members. Mr.N.C. also proposed

to collect some amount from the villagers for the maintenance of

side drains in the village. But some members opposed this

proposal also. As a result, these proposals were dropped by the

Panchayat. In the same year, the budge* estimates introduced by

the Sarpanch in one of the meetings of the Panchayat were not

accepted by the majority members in the Panchayat.

Consequently,the Budget was not passed during that year. The

District Panchayat Officer who came to know about the differences

among the Sarpanch and members of the Panchayat .warned to take

action against the Panchayat for its failure to run the

administration smoothly. Subsequently, the Sarpanch managed to

settle his differences with the members who opposed him to

ensure tl}e proper functioning of the Panchayat.

There.was another instance which occurred in this Panchayat

when the Sarpanch could manage to get his proposal accepted

against opposition from some members of Panchayat. In the year

1970, the Government sanctioned a grant of Rs.10,000/- to the

Pedanandipadu Panchayat for the construction of a building for

the Primary School established for the Scheduled Castes students

in the village. The Sarpanch wanted to construct the school

building in the Church Compound. But Mr.M.Y. who was a Scheduled


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Caste member of the Village Panchayat vehemently opposed this

proposal and proposed that the school building should be

constructed on a Panchayat site which was vacant for a long time.

His proposal was turned down by the Sarpanch and the school

building was constructed in the Church compound as per his wish.

After the Panchayat elections held in 1980, the Sarpanch

became stronger than the previous Sarpanches because he was

elected directly by the people. Even then, he had to keep the

majority members with him for getting his proposals accepted by

the Panchayat. In 1980, the Government sanctioned a scheme for

improving the street lighting in Pedanandipadu village. The

Sarpanch Mr.N.C.proposed to arrange mercury lamps in all the

streets in the village with the grant sanctioned by the

Government. His proposal was not accepted by a few ward members

along with Mr.L.A.S. who was the Upa-Sarpanch. However, the

proposal of Sarpanch was approved since he got the support of

the majority members of the Panchayat. Since Mr.N.C. had

majority of members on his side, he never faced any difficulty

irijgetting along with his proposals in the Panchayat even though

he was always opposed by a few members. It was reported in

certain research studies that the dominant position of the

Sarpanch in the affairs of.Panchayat was due to the absence of a

strong and powerful opposition. It was also revealed that the

the domination of Sarpanch in the affairs of the Panchayat


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resulted in intense gravitational pulls causing in fighting among

the members of Panchayat which adversely affected the functioning


of the Panchayat11 Further, it can be concluded on the basis of

evidence gathered during this study that the dominating role of

the Sarpanch minimised the democratic spirit and nature of the

Panchayat.

This particular trend is not exclusive to the Pedanandipadu

Panchayat alone. It exists in almost all the Panchayats in the

Country. Commenting on the adverse effects of this trend, Iqbal

Narayan warns: "concentration of authority is all the more

ingenious because it is conducive to building a cult of power

rather than a medium of community development. It encourages the

Pradhans and Sarpanches to strengthen their positions and

channelise the use of existing devices and aggrandise their own


,,12
power

It is also observed in the present study that the Sarpanch

being very powerful rarely allows the members to participate

freely in the working of the Panchayat even in matters of crucial

and important nature. As a result of this dominating nature of

the Sarpanch, the members are reduced to the position of

non-entities. The same observation was made by Iqbal Narayan

when he asserts, "The Panches become at best passive partners to

win the line of Sarpanches and at worst, silent onlookers. Their


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initiative has thus not been aroused, it has rather' been allowed
13
to remain stunted

Maheswari"considers this tendency as a paradox of Panchayati

Raj system in India. In this connection he aptly remarks

"concentration of powers, if not properly checked, may become the

bane of Panchayati Raj. This growing concentration of powers in

the hands of Sarpanch is thus undoubtedly a contradiction of the


14
philosophy of Panchayat

The Role of Sarpanch:

The role played by the Sarpanch is very crucial to the

functioning of a panchayat. He is the most powerful leader


>

around whom the politics at the Village levelrevolves. He

exercises lot of influence as well as command over the people of

the Village. He dictates the course of politics and no political

event takes place in the Village without his knowledge or

interference. The role of the Sarpanch extends beyond the

political sphere, as he also enjoys considerable influence in the

socio-economic life of the villagers. As the most influential

leader, it is the responsibility of .the Sarpanch to satisfy the

needs of all the sections of people living in the Village. The

people of the Village seek for his help if they have any problem,

irrespective of thETit background. It is^revealed in the present


/
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study that in the beginning the Office of Sarpanch of this

Panchayat used to carry considerable status, influence and

prestige. But, now this position has lost its prominence and the

Sarpanch has become vulnerable to criticism even by ordinary

people. The*Sarpanches ,'of the Pedanandipadu Panchayats have

discharged their rbles in*, different ways and styles. Mr.N.C. had

broad outlook and maintained close and friendly relations with

all the people in this village. He never involved himself in any

group politics. He used to be more sympathetic to the weaker

sections in the village and was helpful to them. He was easily

accessible to all the sections of people. 1 When he was the

Sarpanch, some gamblers who were "playing cards in the streets

were arrested by the police . These gamblers were the residents

of his ward. They sought*his help to avoid police case. With

the intervention of Mr.N.C. the police released the gamblers

without filing any case against them. He used to help the people

in getting their work done in the Mandal and District offices.

Thus Mr,.N.C. extended all kinds of help to the villagers to win

their support. On account of. these qualities he was able to

continue in the office of Sarpanch continuously for three terms .*

MriL.A.S. who became the Sarpanch . after Mr.N.C. had

maintained very close relations with the then Revenue Minister.

With the support of this minister he played a very important

role in the TDP affairs at the village level. He used his


217
influence to become , the * Vice President of the Mandal Praja

Parishad.

The Sarpanch needs adequate financial powers to discharge

his role efficiently. It is to be noted that the Sarpanch is not

vested with any financial powers to spend any amount to meet even

the emergencies. , He has to take" the permission of higher

authorities to spend even small amounts from the Panchayat funds.

The Narasimham Committee criticised this la'cuna. The Committee

pointed out that the Sarpanch is not competent to sanction

expenditure of even Rs.10.00 and that an estimate is required to

be prepared by the supervisor and to be sanctioned by the

technical authority. It is a long process and takes a lot of

time. In the meantime the Sarpanch has to spend from his . pocket.
u

If the sarpanch is economically stable he may not confront any


15
problem or else he has to incur a great loss and embarrassment

In spite of this limitation, the Sarpanch plays^crucial role

at the grassroot level politics not only because of his powers

but also because of the influence he commands in the village. He

is considered as a vote bank in the general elections. The higher

level political leaders seek his support in both the

Parliamentary and Assembly elections . At the same time, the

Sarpanch has also to depend upon the higher * level leaders for

their own growth and.alsp for the development of Village. The


218
Sarpanches of Pedanandipadu maintained good contacts with the

political leaders at different levels. Mr.N.C. used to have close

contacts with the Panchayati Sarnithi Presidents and the local

M.L.A. But he never used his political influence for the

development of the Panchayat.

Mr.L.A.S. has developed good relations with the leaders of

Zilla Parishad and also the Mandal. He has intimate contacts

with the then Revenue Minister. He used this influence for the

development of the Panchayat. He was able to get more funds from

the Government for the developmental activities undertaken

during his tenure by the Panchayat. The Panchayat constructed

the school building and laid down several roads in the village

with the grants sanctioned by the Government.

PROFILES OF THE SARPANCHES OF PEDANANDIPADU PANCHAYAT

In order to estimate the functioning and role of the

Sarpanches it is very essential to study their socio- economic

background.

Mr.L.A. (1959-64):

Mr.L.A. was the first Sarpanch of Pedanandipadu Panchayat

after the formation of this Panchayat under the A.P. Zilla

Parishads and Panchayat Samiti Act 1959. He is an agriculturist


219

by profession with 4 acres of dry land and 10 acres of wet

land. He studied upto Xth class. During his student career he was

an active member of the Student Federation of India, a student

wing of the Communist Party of India. He was a close relative of

prominent communist leader of the village. So he was attracted

towards the communist ideology. He used to support the Communist

Party in the general elections. He even canvassed in support of

the Communist Party candidates during the Assembly elections. In

1954, he participated in the Banjaru Satyagraham which was

launched by the Communist Party in protest against the

Government's decision to assign some waste land to the freedom

fighters of this village. During the agitation, he was arrested

and imprisoned for six months. For the first time, he contested

as a ward member in the Panchayat elections held in 1956. In

1957, he was elected as the Secretary of Taluka Yuvajana Sangham

(Youth Association). In 1958, he became the District Secretary

of the Yuvajana Sangham. He organised several youth meetings at

different places in Guntur District. Later, he became a member of

the state committee of Yuvajana Sangham. All these committees

were affiliated to the Communist Party of India. In spite of his

close association with the Communist Party, he opposed the stand

of the party on several local issues, especially, regarding the

merger of the Nagulapadu with Pedanandipadu. The Communist Party

leaders in the village strongly opposed the merger of these two


220
villages because the Nagulapadu was under the hold of Communist

Party and if it is merged with Pedanandipadu it would lose its

hold. But Mr.L.A. supported the merger in the interest of the

two Villages. He supported the resolution passed in the

Panchayat for the merger of the two villages. He was vehemently

criticized by the Communist Party leaders of the Village for

taking this stand. Consequently, he resigned from the Communist

Party in 1959. Afterwards, he became the supporter of Congress

Party. But he never joined any political party. Subsequently,

some leaders of the Village persuaded him to contest for the post*

of Sarpanch as an independent candidate in the Panchayat

elections held in 1959. Accordingly, he contested in these

elections and won with an absolute majority, amidst keen

competition.

During his term as the Sarpanch, Mr.L.A. initiated several

developmental programmes in the village. He was responsible for

the starting of a veterinary hospital in the village. A pucca

building for housing the library was also constructed during his

term with the help of public contributions. He evinced keen

interest in the welfare of Scheduled Castes people and other

weaker sections living in the village. During his term as the

Sarpanch the decision of the Panchayat regarding the merger of

the two villages, Pedanandipadu' and Nagulapadu was challenged in

the High Court. The Court upheld the decision of the Panchayat.
221
After completing his term as the Sarpanch of Pedanandipadu

village Panchayat he retired from the politics and has started

his own business in the same village;

Mr.N.G. (1964-1988):

Mr.N.C. belongs to a rich landlord's family. He owns 25

acres of land of which 7 acresg^gi wet land and the remaining 18

acresdry land. He completed high school education. During

his student days, he was actively involved in the Students

Federation of India activities. From the beginning, he was a

member and staunch supporter of the Communist Party. He was

appointed as the secretary of the village committee of Communist

Party. He was also a member of the village youth club. He used

to participate actively in the social service activities

organised in the village. He played an important role in the

collection of funds for the construction of library building in

the village. He also donated considerable amount for the

construction of a building for the veterinary hospital. From the

beginning, he used to take keen interest in the welfare of

Scheduled Castes people and other weaker sections living in the

village. He used to help these people whenever they had a

problem. Mr.N.C. started his political career as ward member. He

contested as a ward member in the Panchayat elections held in

1956. But be lost the election with a slight margin of 12 votes.


222

In the next Panchayat elections held in 1964, Mr.N.C. was

elected as the Sarpanch of the Panchayat unanimously. Mr.N.C.

took keen interest in the welfare of the weaker sections and

initiated a few measures for their development. He was

re-elected for the second time as the Sarpanch of Pedanandipadu

Panchayat in the Panchayat elections held during 1970. It is

because of his popularity among the weaker sections in the

village. During the Panchayat elections held 1981, he again

contested for the office of the Sarpanch. At that time, the

political situation existing in the village was not favourable to

him. The Scheduled Castes and other weaker sections turned

-and fielded their own candidate for the

office of Sarpanch. However, he won the elections with the

support of upper castes people, particularly kammas.

During his second term as the Sarpanch, the State Government

granted funds for the construction of an office building for the

Panchayat. But he refused to accept this grant on the plea that

the construction of a building for Panchayat office does not help

the villagers,in any way but benefits the officials and the

politicians who visit the panchayat on official business. The

major achievement of Mr.N.C. during his term is that the

Panchayat constructed 25 tiled houses for the harijans. He made

serious efforts to start a library in the Harijanwada but he


223
could not succeed because he was unable to secure necessary land

for the construction of a building for the same. He also tried

seriously to obtain patta from the Revenue Department for the one
t
acre of land alloted
A
for the construction of social welfare

hostel. Some people stood in his way and influenced the Revenue

Officials to delay the issue of patta. However, he was able to

overcome all these hurdles and finally succeeded in getting the

patta from the Revenue Department and the Panchayat constructed

a social welfare hostel in that place.

Throughout his tenure Mr .N.C.could not maintain good

relations with the Executive Officers who worked in this

Panchayat, He failed to elicit their cooperation in running the

administration of the Panchayat or in implementing his

programmes. As. the differences between Mr.N.C. and the Executive

officers who worked under him reached serious proportions, he got

them transferred from this Panchayat by using his political

influence.

Prior to 1967 Mr.N.C. was a member of the Communist

Party. However, in 1967 he resigned from the Communist Party and

joined the Congress. In 1986, Mr.N.C. left the Congress and

became a member of the Telugu Desam party. There was a strong

reason behind his entry into TDP. At that time he was facing

serious charges of corruption It was charged against him that he


224
misappropriated funds in the purchase of water pipes. In order

to come out of this trouble safely he wisely joined the TDP.

Further, he wanted to improve his relations with Mr.L.A.S., his

main rival in the Panchayat politics, who is already in the TDP.

But he was not benefited in any way by joining the TDP.

Consequently, he left the TDP. and remained as a supporter of the

Congress. Mr.N.C. contested for the office of Sarpanch for the

fourth time in the Panchayat Elections held in 1988. He was

defeated, by Mr.L.A.S. Now he is taking keen interest in social

service activities.He helped several Scheduled Castes people in

securing employment. In the beginning, Mr.N.C. appeared to be a

very honest and a sincere person with a clean record. Later,

there was a drastic change in his attitude. He was involved in

certain clandestine financial dealings. Apart from this, he lost

the good will of the women of the tillage because he did not meet

their demand for the allotment of a site for the construction of

a building for Mahila Mandal.

Mr.N.C. has failed to carry the Panchayat members along with

him during the last days of his term. He could not get his

proposals implemented due to lack cf support from the members.

Further, several allegations were levelled against him by his

opponents which made him very unpopular in the village.


225
Mr.L.A.S. (1988-1994):

Mr.L.A.S. started his political career as a ward member of

Pedanandipadu Panchayat. He was elected to this office in tho

Panchayat elections held in 1970. He was reelected unanimously as

a ward member again in 1981. He was also elected as the Upa-

Sarpanch. He studied up to Intermediate. He belonged to an upper

middle class family. He owns 20 acres of land. He is a farmer by

profession. He is also a contractor. In 1981, when the Ryoth

Sangham (Farmer's Association) was formed in the village to

promote the interests of the farmers and agricultural labour, he

became its first Secretary. In his early youth, he was a staunch

supporter of the Swatantra Party. Later, he joined the Congress

Party and continued in it until 1981. In 1982, he joined the

newly formed TDP. He played an active role during the

co-operative elections and also the Mandal Prajaparishad

elections held in 1987. During his tenure as the Sarpanch, house

sites were distributed among 43 landless poor. He proposed a plan

for the construction of a housing colony in the village and got

it approved by the Government with the help of the local M.L.A.

Mr.L.A.S. developed close contacts with the Samithi

President and with several other prominent leaders of this area.

With their support he formed a housing society for undertaking

the construction of residential quarters in the village. He


226
secured the necessary financial assistance from the State

Government for this purpose. He succeeded in getting the approval

of Government for a lift irrigation scheme in the village. He

had also played an important role in the implementation of

electrification and housing schemes implemented in the village.

He actively worked for the formation of Pedanandipadu Mandal

during 1987. On account of his services to the village he earned

good reputation among all the sections of the village and became

very powerful in the village politics.

With this experience and popularity, Mr.L.A.S contested for

the office of Sarpanch in the Panchayat elections held in 1988.

He got elected by defeating Mr.N.C. with a considerable majority

of 500 votes. Later, he was unanimously elected as the Vice-

President of Mandal Praja Parishad. During his term as the

Sarpanch, several developmental activities were undertaken by the

Panchayat including the construction of a building for the

Panchayat office, and two more buildings for library and

Veterinary hospital. He allotted a site for the construction of

Mahila Mandal building. He also sanctioned necessary funds for

the construction of this building from the funds allotted to

J.R.Y.

After the expire of his term in 1992, Mr.L.A.S. was made the

person in charge of Gram Panchayat. Now he is actively involved


' 227
in several public activities.He became a treasurer of the

management committee of the local college.

Unlike his predecessor (Mr.N.C.), Mr.L.A.S did not evince

much interest in the welfare of people of Scheduled Castes and

other weaker sections living in the Village. He seems to have

adopted the policy of helping all sections of people of the

village but not the weaker sections alone. As a consequence of

this policy, he alienated himself from these downtrodden

sections.

II. Executive officer and Panchayat

At the Village Panchayat level the Sarpanch exercises

several powers relating to decision making and also plays a

crucial role in the administration of the Panchayat. However, it

is inevitable for him to depend upon the Executive Officer in

running the administration as well as in executing the decisions

made by the Panchayat. The Executive Officer plays a double role.

On the one hand, he is responsible for carrying out the decisions

of the local authority over matters which have been committed to

his care. On the other, he is responsible concurrently for

various administrative functions entrusted to him by different

Panchayati Raj Acts. The general trend that has emerged in the

Village Panchayats in the state is that the Executive Officer .


.228
always accords priority to the latter over the former. It is

because his promotion depends upon his own department and

consequently the interests of Panchayat are given secondary

importance.

As the Chief executive Officer of the Panchayat, he has to

inspire and motivate the staff of the Panchayat to implement the

different programmes for the development of the people in the

Village successfully. Along with the administrative ability, the

Executive Officer has to possess the caliber to compromise the

contending groups for the progress of the Village. The High

Power Committee on Panchayat Raj expressed the opinion that the

Executive Officers of the Gram Panchayats are not able to

exercise effective control over the Gram Panchayat staff as the

staff according to the Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayats Act, 1964

is under the control of the Sarpanch. The Committee suggests that

the Act should be amended so as to place the staff under the

immediate control of the Executive Officer. This Committee has

also suggested that the Executive Officer should be under the


16
administrative control of the Sarpanch of the gram Panchayat

In case of emergency, the Sarpanch may, in consultation with the

Executive Officer direct the execution of any work or the doing

of any act which requires the sanction of the Gram Panchayat or

any of its committees, the immediate execution or the doing of

which is, in his opinion, necessary for the service or safety of


233

executive. Both of them have different spheres of activities. In

Pedanandipadu Village Panchayat, the Sarpanches were very

powerful and dominating the affairs of the Panchayat mostly

because of their personal background. It is interesting to note

that all the Sarpanches of this Panchayat so far, hailed from~;


/

Kamma caste which is the dominant caste in the Village. The three^
3
'** .

Sarpanches who worked in this Panchayat followed different styles

of functioning and displayed different attitudes.

All these Sarpanches used to function without much

opposition in the Panchayat.They were supported by majority of

the members in all their actions. The domination of the

Sarpanches was mainly on accountant of their caste background.

An important feature of this Panchayat is that one Sarpanch

continued in the office for a long time. He was elected as

Sarpanch for three successive terms because of the support of

weaker sections. He was sympathetic and helpful to the people

belonging to the weaker sections in the village. He won their


l
favour with his service rendered to them. ^Besides, he also got

support of the members of the Panchayat.

The Executive Officers who worked in this Panchayat,

maintained good relations with the Sarpanches. Barring oneV

instance where there were serious differences between the

Executive Officer and Sarpanch, all the remaining Executiye^


Officers had harmonious relations with the Sarpanches. However,

the Executive Officers did face problems while discharging their

duties. Particularly the Sarpanches brought heavy pressure upon

them at the time of collection of Taxes from the villagers.

On the whole, the present study reveals that it is the

Sarpanch who plays a dominant role in the affairs of the

Panchayat. The development of the Panchayat entirely depends

upon the role played by the Sarpanch, He can develop the Village

in all spheres, if he is committed and efficient. On the other

hand, the development of the Village is hardly possible, if its

Sarpanch is inefficient and indifferent. In other words it is

theSarpanch who is the maker of the destiny of the Village.

Because of his strong political influence and dominance the

Sarpanch has become the most powerful functionary at the

grassroots in this country. If the edifice of administration of

the country depends upon the Village Panchayats, the Sarpanch can

rightly be regarded as the pillar of the Panchayat.


REFERENCES

1. Ram Reddy^ G., and Seshadri, K, The Voter and Panchayati Raj

A Study of Electoral Behaviour during Panchayati Elections in

Warangal (Dt) A.P., Hyderabad National Institute of Rural

Development, 1972 pp.45-46.

2. Sivalinga Prasad.V. op. cit., p.95.

3. Bhargava, B.S., Emerging Leadership in Panchayati Raj System,

Banglore, Institute for Social and Economic Change, 977,

p.135.

4. Ibid., pp.125-126.
*

5. Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayats Act, 1964, op. cit., p.350.

6. Government of Andhra Pradesh ,A.P.Gram Panchayats Amendment'


oavJ.
Act 1976^Amendment Act of 1978, op. cit., p.250.

7. Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayats Act , 1976, op. cit., p.251.

8. Ibid.,

9. Ibid.,

10. Gram Panchayats Act, 1964, op. cit.,

11. Ibid t
236

12. Government of Rajastan, Report of the Study Team on

Panchayati Raj Institutions (Chairman Sadik Ali), Jaipur:

Government Press, 1964, p,67,

13. Bhatnagar, Panchayati Raj in Kangra District, New Delhi,

Orient Longman, 1974, p.41.

14. Ibid., p.50.

15. Ibid., p.51.

1.6. Government of Andhra Pradesh, Report of the High Power

Committee on Panchayati Raj Institutions,Hyderabad,

Government Press, 1981, p.108 *

17. Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayats Act, op. cit.,

18. Ibid.