At a time when Maharashtra witnessed a fracas between the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and the Raj Bhavan over the use of a state government aircraft for the Governor, a small village sarpanch on Friday shot to attention for different reasons.
The newly-elected Sarpanch of the Ambi-Dumala village in Ahmednagar district hired a helicopter to fly down to take charge of his new post.
Jalinder Gagare, 50, a homegrown entrepreneur having a major factory in Pune and a BJP sympathiser, was elected to the top village post in the elections held last month.
Along with him, his entire 9-member panel – which made a clean sweep in the polls – also arrived this afternoon with flair to assume office.
From his Pune home, Gagare flew down in a chopper and landed in a village square where hundreds of frenzied villagers greeted him with garlands, showered him with flowers, danced, sang and shouted slogans in his favour.
Even the elaborate take-over ceremony rivaled that of a Chief Minister, as after he landed, he was greeted with a victory ’tilak’ and taken in a procession of 12 bullock carts from the helipad to the village panchayat office.
Gagare, who hails from the village but lives in Pune, has not severed links with his native village and keeps a close connect with its residents.
Last month, he contested the Gram Panchayat elections for the first time on the promise of “overall development of the village”, modernisation, better infrastructure and other local issues.
It seemed to have struck a chord with the electorate and the villagers elected Gagare and his entire 9-strong panel to head and direct the village development with full vigour.
Besides the Sarpanch, the Deputy Sarpanch and the members took the solemn oath before the villagers and resolved to work for the progress of the small village.
“Mahatma Gandhi had said – ‘Go to the villages’…. I have followed his ideals and I have come back to my village… I wanted to make this a memorable event in the village’s history,” Gagare said.
He reiterated his election promise and vowed to work for the all-round development and progress of his community, help transform the village with government assistance and even his own contributions if required.
New Gram Panchayat member Rohini Narwade gushed over the celebratory mood in the village, terming it as “an advance Diwali” with Gagare proving to be a savior for the villagers.
“We are happy to have a young, dynamic and committed Sarpanch who is so concerned about our progress and well-being… If all educated entrepreneurs from all villages in the state adhere to Gagare’s ideals, each village can prosper and step forward,” she said.
Lauding Gagare, she said that he has truly set an example for the youth of the state and will inspire all youngsters to educate themselves, work for their own well-being and contribute to their villages.
On his part, Gagare has given employment to scores of youth from Ambi-Dumala and surroundings in his factory manufacturing automobile spare parts in Pune.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)