Sabarmati jail: Peace paves way for poll among prisoners

After a long hiatus, inmates at the Sabarmati Central Jail here voted to elect members of its `Kaidi Panchayat`.

Ahmedabad: After a long hiatus, inmates at the Sabarmati Central Jail here voted to elect members of its `Kaidi Panchayat` who would head each of the nine sections of the prison.
The voting took place yesterday in which nearly 2000
convicts, exercised their franchise to elect nine member for
the canteen, tailoring unit, bakery, kitchen, legal aid and
other sections.

"The election for the members of the `Kaidi Panchayat`
was held yesterday at the Sabarmati jail owing to a peaceful
and conducive environment inside here," Jail superintendent RJ Parghi told a news agency.

The election for the Kaidi Panchayat had been introduced
a long back, but owing to infighting and other unfavourable
factors, the elections were not held. Instead the members were
selected from among the inmates through a selection process,
he said.

According to Parghi, the election process in the jail was
just like any other gram panchayat, taluka panchayat elections
where notification was issued, nominations were invited,
scrutinised, withdrawn, rejected and then polling was held.

"Only convicts are allowed to participate in the
elections as candidate and as a voter. Undertrials are kept
away from this," he added.

The members elected would work for the welfare of the
prisoners in association with the jail staff.

For this election the notification was issued on
December 28, with last day for filing nominations being
December 31. The list of candidates was finalised by the Jail
authorities on January 4 after through scrutiny.

As many as 57 inmates had filed their nomination forms
out of which 22 were allowed to contest the elections, based
on various factors which include their conduct, attitude,
behaviour with other inmates, cooperation with jail
authorities and others.

The candidates were also allowed time for propaganda,
select their own symbol on the ballot paper and were also
allowed to see the counting after the elections.