Dolly is a Two-time Sarpanch from a general seat in Bihar’s Shadipur village. She left her cushy corporate job in Delhi NCR to move to a village and contest the local-body gram panchayat elections.
From a comfortable job in Air India to being the Sarpanch of a remote village in Bihar – Dolly’s journey is not an ordinary one. Two-time Sarpanch (a decision-maker, elected by the village-level constitutional body of local self-government) of Shadipur village in the Gaya district of Bihar, 32-year-old Dolly refrains from using her surname as she believes in the politics of humanity rather than the politics of caste.
Fascinated by the job from an early age, Dolly has done Air Hostess training from Frankfinn Institute in Gurugram. She was doing a job with Air India, where she issued domestic flight tickets. That is the time she got married. Her husband was from Shadipur village of Bihar. After her marriage, Dolly did an MBA in International Business from Symbiosis Institute, Pune.
But what kick started her political career was the influence of her mother-in-law. Her mother-in-law was the first woman to have been elected as a Sarpanch in Shadipur two times in a row in a general election seat. When her mother-in-law passed away in 2018, the villagers found Dolly to be an apt replacement for her.
“People looked at me as a suitable contender for the post after my mother-in-law. I also felt that my work in MNCs in the last 10 years had not been so meaningful. While mentally I was ready to accept the post, transitioning from urban life and connecting with the culture of rural Bihar took some time. It was challenging and exciting at the same time to meet people and understand their mindsets as I had lived in metro cities for a long time. I got to see and experience an India that I was unaware of,” recalls Dolly, who moved to Shadipur permanently in 2018 — a month before she decided to contest in the midterm elections.
Usually, people want their Sarpanch to be one among them. But coming from an urban background, Dolly knew that she could not use that as her selling point in the elections. Instead, she showcased how she is different from them and how her educational background can bring a change in the village. She delivered what she promised and has now digitised the Shadipur village court (gram kachahari).
“I brought in systems to ensure that every process is transparent and digitally documented. I wanted to make it easier for people to lodge complaints and so digitalisation helped with that too,” she adds.
After her term ended in 2021, she was re-elected as the village’s Sarpanch by the people twice in a row, and this time, she won by over 1,500 votes.
She also oversaw the constitution of the judicial bench consisting of eight women and five male members recently. Dolly’s work has been recognised by the Bihar government as she was awarded the title of Empowered Sarpanch by the District Administration of Gaya on this year’s International Women’s Day.
Dolly says that she sometimes misses the monitory comfort that came with her old job. From earning Rs 35,000, her job as a Sarpanch only gets her Rs 2,500 per month. But the satisfaction she gets from being the Sarpanch of her village is priceless.
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