Bhandara: Residents of nearly 12 villages in the district have decided to boycott the upcoming Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha bypoll, after failing to get a response over their demand for proper irrigation facilities.
The villagers, under the aegis of 'Bawanthadi Prakalp Sangharsh Samiti', a local organisation, earlier passed a resolution at a gram sabha meeting to boycott every election in their area, including the Bhandara-Gondia bypoll scheduled on May 28, if their demand was not met.
The samiti's president, Balkrishna Gadhve, said in March this year they had submitted a memorandum to the district collector demanding proper water supply to these villages under the government's 'Bawanthadi irrigation project'.
However, the administration and the government did not care to look into the demands, Gadhve claimed.
Subsequently, the samiti staged a demonstration on March 23 at Gobarwahi village and later decided that all voters from the 12 villages, falling under the Tumsar taluka, will boycott the bypoll, he said.
The villages whose residents have decided to boycott the by-election are: Ganeshpur, Pavnarkhari, Gobarwahi, Yedarbuchi, Sundartola, Sitasawangi, Gudri, Khandal, Sodhepur, Heti, Bhamnewada and Khairtola.
The samiti's vice president, Sharad Khobragade, said the 12 villages, having a total population of nearly 30,000, were facing problems due to lack of proper water supply for irrigation and drinking purposes.
Gondia District Collector Abhimanyu Kale, who is temporarily also holding the additional charge of Bhandara, told PTI that the administration will positively look into the demand of villagers.
The by-election to Gondia-Bhandara Lok Sabha seat was necessitated after Nana Patole quit as the BJP MP and resigned from the ruling party to return to the Congress.
There are total 18 candidates in the fray, but a direct contest is likely between the BJP's Hemant Patle and the NCP's Madhukarrao Kukde, a former BJP legislator from the Tumsar Assembly seat.