Praises and congratulations were pouring in for 94-year-old Gangubai Nivrutti Bhambure on her election as the sarpanch of Bhamburwadi village in Pune district’s Khed taluka on Tuesday.
However, Gangubai did not seem too impressed with the felicitation the gram panchayat members were bestowing upon her and left the event early to mingle with the villagers.
“I will not disappoint them… I can walk like a youngster and talk like a teacher. Nothing affects me, rain or sun,” The Indian Express quoted Gangubai as saying in its report.
“Now it’s time to work. I have to do something for my people, otherwise it’s no use becoming a sarpanch just for the sake of it,” she further added.
District Collector Saurabh Rao told that Gangubai, who is famous as ‘Aaji’ or ‘Aayee’ among villagers, is the oldest person to become a sarpanch in Pune district.
Gangubai said that she will first help around 250 farmers from the seven nearby villages who have a total of 1,000 hecatres of land, but can’t grow anything on it due to lack of adequate amount of water for eight months.
Rahul Bhambure, Gangubai’s grandson, said that there is a canal less than 2 km from these farmlands, however farmers don’t get a single drop of water from there.
Navnath Bhambure, another grandson, said the government has failed to find a solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, Gangubai said she would take this matter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get a closed pipeline established from the canal or from Chaskaman dam to irrigate the farms.
“I will send a letter on behalf of the villagers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” she said.
Confident that PM Modi will act in response to her request, she said, “Why not? PM Modi is like my son. My oldest son is 66 years old and I am told the PM is around the same age… I am sure he will pay heed to the voices of farmers.”
She further said that other priorities like proper drainage system, sufficient toilets, homes for the poor and good roads will also be taken note of.
Gangubhai had won the election by a margin of 50 votes in October after beating another woman candidate, who is a graduate from a political family.
Asked she is fit enough for the job, Gangubhai said, “I get up as 5 am and do household chores. I never fall ill and never take medicines. Eat less and live longer — that’s my secret of life.”