Gram Panchayat elections were held yesterday in Rajasthan’s Tonk district. Neeta Sodha, a Pakistani immigrant, contested the polls for the post of the Sarpanch. Her father-in-law, Thakur Laxman Karan, has been the Sarpanch thrice. She cites him as the mentor and source of her inspiration behind the decision.
Tonk: Neeta Sodha, an immigrant from Pakistan who was recently given Indian citizenship is contesting panchayat elections in Natwara, says,”I came to India 18 yrs back but I was given nationality just 4 months ago. My father-in-law guides me in my political journey.” #Rajasthan pic.twitter.com/BUGeZmrixq
— ANI (@ANI) January 17, 2020
Neeta studied till Class 12th in Sindh before migrating to India in 2001. She was accompanied by her sister Anjana Sodha and her mother. However, her brother and father had stayed back in Pakistan. Her family hails from Mirpur Khas in Sindh, Pakistan.
Neeta Sodha came to India to pursue higher education and studied at Ajmer’s Sophia College. She graduated with a BA degree in 2005. As reported by Gulf News, Neeta got married in 2011 and has two children. After having lived in India for 18 years, Neeta was finally granted citizenship in September 2019.
Neeta is now contesting elections for the Sarpanch post in the Natwara Gram Panchayat. She wants to work towards achieving better healthcare, education, and women empowerment. She says she will work towards the economic empowerment of women in her village.
When asked about her experience, she said that educational facilities and living conditions for women are better in India than Pakistan. She also acknowledged the overwhelming support that she has received in India.
This story comes to light at a time when the nation is embroiled in a heated debate surrounding the National Register of Citizens (NRC), National Population Register (NPR) and the Citizenship Act.