Institute for Social and Economic Change

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Power Sharing in the Panchayats of Orissa – isec

Power Sharing in the Panchayats of Orissa

Abstract

The paper examines the nature of power, its existence, distribution and manifestation in the context of Panchayats in Orissa. It concludes that institutionalised political authority has failed in conferring power on all the elected representatives. Influential individuals or elites of the locality were successful in affecting panchayat decision-making due to their control of significant resources such as social prestige, economic power, political contacts and organisational ability, and thus, exercised power in panchayats, even without holding any authority. The paper, therefore, makes a clear distinction between power and authority, and explores the dual nature of power structure in the panchayats of Orissa.

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