Many highly-qualified candidates are contesting the ongoing Jammu and Kashmir panchayat polls in order to bring a change at the grassroots level in the state.
Sindhu Bhalla Sharma, who has an MPhil degree in Sanskrit, is contesting for the sarpanch post of her native Anjole village in Kishtwar district.
Sharma said she was inspired by Chhavi Rajawat, an MBA graduate quit her corporate career with India's one of the biggest telecom firms to become the country's one of the youngest sarpanchs from Soda in Rajasthan.
The tech-savvy 36-year-old Rajawat, often hailed as the changing face of rural Rajasthan, also addressed delegates at the United Nations' 11th Infopoverty World Conference in 2011.
"Impressed by Rajawat's commitment to the development of her ancestral village in Rajasthan, I decided to contest the panchayat polls to contribute in some way to bring whatever change possible to my remote village," Sharma said.
Another highly-qualified woman, Arti Sharma, from a village of Udhampur, is contesting the Ghordi Khass West Kulan sarpanch seat. "There are many burning issues that I want to resolve. If I get the mandate, I wish to lead and guide the rural women towards empowerment," Arti said.
Prithvi Raj, a PhD in botany, is a sarpanch candidate from the Loharna-A panchayat in Kishtwar. Mansoor Hussain, a masters-degree holder in political science and English, is a sarpanch candidate from the Loharna-B panchayat.
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All these highly-educated candidates are keen to work for the development of their respective rural pockets.
"Funds are flowing to rural bodies. My primary concern will be to see that funds are judiciously utilised and not siphoned off," Hussain said.
The panchayat elections are being held in nine phases in the state from November 17-December 11.