Submitted by Newseditor on Fri, 2015-12-04 09:40 Bengaluru: Karnataka state politics is expected to witness a major structural shift in the near future as the effort of several NGO groups to establish a state-wide union of around one lakh Gram Panchayat members is on the verge of its culmination. A far sighted move initiated by a group of influential NGOs aims to form a federation of all elected members of Gram Panchayats in Karnataka, which will supposedly emerge as the largest group of elected representatives from every corner of the state. Karnataka State has about 6073 Gram Panchayats including recently formed 439. Over one lakh members of the local bodies are so far running without unity and hardly have had regular interactions with one other. Aiming to bring these Panchayat members to a common platform and empower them as the opinion makers in the state arena, district level unions have been formed in 12 districts including-Shivmoga, Mysore, Hassan, Chikmagalur, Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Chamarajanagar, Mandya, Bangalore city, and Tumkur. By the end of this year a state level Federation is expected to take birth where the members from all 30 districts would be gathered. The Federation of Gram Panchayat members of Karnataka is expected to be launched on December 19 in Mysore and organisers are expecting a minimum crowd of not less than 20,000 from all districts of Karnataka. Laying a major objective of making Gram Panchayat members a unified political bargaining power in the state, the masterminds of this movement are expecting to turn this strength as an alternative for the prevailing major parties in the long run. MVN Rao, Director, Grama Vikasa, who is working closely with various Gram Panchayats feel that this union will bring a tremendous shift in the political equations of the state. “As the Gram Panchayat members are working closely with the voters and their day-to-day issues their unity in any aspect would make considerable changes in the scenario,” he added. Wilfred D’Souza, President, Janavikasa remarks, “If the ministers and officers are good, they will certainly support gram panchayats. But unfortunately many of them have forgotten the Panchayat Raj Act and its soul objective. In order to strengthen Gram Panchayats and to have a demand based approach, obviously there is a need of alternative union. ” Earlier, there was no channel for Gram Panchayat members to raise their voice. Now we are creating a forum for them to keep their demands in front of government and ultimately to seek a change. “Since Gram Panchayat members are working closely with the voters, they know the issues better. Even in cases of government failure, GP members can do better for the society,” D’Souza opined.