Direct democracy to the grassroots people: An overview the Madhya Pradesh panchayat raj act 2001
Dr. Akhilesh Pal
Madhya Pradesh took the lead in implementing the panchayat raj system as envisaged in the 73rd Amendment and was the first state to conduct elections to panchayats in 1994. The state government continuously devolved powers and authority to the panchayat institutions and initiated innovative measures to empower, strengthen and institutionalise the panchayat raj institutions. An analysis of six years of functioning of panchayat raj in the state clearly indicates that despite several attempts by the government, civil society and other concerned actors, the panchayat raj institutions could not truly emerge as people’s institutions. Unfortunately, the distortions of the existing political systems at the state and union levels were replicated at the panchayat level and a new class of elite and power centres led by the sarpanch emerged within the panchayat system undermining the spirit of democratic decentralisation at grassroots level.