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'Village without switchboard needs me more than the US'

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24-year-old Darshana Reddy, a Masters in Engineering from Chennai, the newly-elected Sarpanch of Ramalingapuram on what she plans to do for the youth...

24-year-old Darshana Reddy, a Masters in Engineering from Chennai, the newly-elected Sarpanch of Ramalingapuram on what she plans to do for the youth of her village Manju Latha Kalanidhi DarshanYouth employment, an electric switchboard and a temple. These are her three priorities for her village, says Chennu Darshana Reddy, the newly�elected Sarpanch of Ramalingapuram in Srikalahasti mandal. She was elected through women's quota. Holder of a Masters in Engineering degree from Satyabhama University in Chennai, she hails from a family that has held the post for two generations now. "My granddad Chennu Putta Reddy who was a Sarpanch around 40 years ago and later my Dad who has held the post till recently are both my inspiration. After nearly 18 years, the village has got a chance to field an OC candidate and I wanted to contest. It has been my long cherished dream to be a leader and do something concrete for my village," she says. The 24-year-old girl who completed her PG in 2012 and has studied in Tirupati and Chennai says although her village is barely 9 km from Srikalahasti which is a big tourist hub, the village lacks several amenities. "Although we have a tar road and streetlights, I am shocked that there is no switchboard so far. So either the streetlights are on all the time or off all the times in other parts of the village." As an educated youngster, does she have any specific plans for the youth? "Of course. I have seen many SC, ST youth in our village who are well qualified but are opting for random jobs such as auto or car driving or as supervisors in factories. They are talented and I would like to help them find suitable jobs or help them start their own enterprises. Even if I can be of help to five youngsters a year, I would think I have done my job well," she says. Most youngsters want to go abroad or work in a cool corporate MNC and enjoy their weekends besides earning a few lakhs every month. Isn't her new job in stark contrast to it? "I have already rejected offers in corporates. Only a few lucky ones get to serve the society. I believe that my village without switchboard needs me more than the US. I am not planning a big political career, but just using the opportunity to do something good for the society." Another task in her To-Do list is to get a temple built for the village. "It is ironical that our village is called 'Rama'lingapuram but there is no Rama or Shiva temple here. Temples have always been a hub of constructive activities in temples and I want to build one." Darshana is getting married to a Bangalore-based techie next month, but she says she decided to contest for the post of Sarpanch fully aware of what it entails. "I have already decided that I will stay in the village and commute to Bangalore which is a six-hour drive to meet my husband on weekends."
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