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RAJKOT: Taking a leaf out of the popular telly soap ‘Balika Vadhu’, one progressive hamlet in Kutch has been working towards empowering village women through a balika panchayat. The move is aimed at addressing issues around female adolescents — of the girls, by the girls, for the girls!
Kunariya village, around 18km from the district headquarters at Bhuj, has a population of about 4,000 people.
Young females from the village, aged between 10 and 21 years, will contest the elections. This “girls only” council will run parallel to the adult village version, but only address issues pertaining to adolescent girls and women in the village.
The polls, scheduled for Monday, is a closely contested affair. The whole village has geared up in poll mode with rallies, door-to-door campaigns, and voters’ meetings. The result is to be declared the same day.
Eight candidates were vying for the post of sarpanch, four of whom have withdrawn their candidature. The contest is now among Bharti Garva, 20, Rubina Node, 19, Trushali Suthar, 20, and Afsana Sumra, 17, each of whom is busy convincing 450-odd voters in the village why she should be voted as the sarpanch.
Suresh Chhanga, sarpanch of the village, said: “The elected girls will implement schemes that will address issues of girls and women in the village. The idea is to prepare future women leaders”.

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