Coalition partners differ over Panchayat poll schedule
NC-CONG COORDINATION MEET
Jammu, Dec 16: Amid the `growing strains’ between coalition partners, the much-talked about and delayed National Conference-Congress Coordination Committee finally met here on Thursday with ` fresh differences’ cropping over the schedule of Panchayat elections in the state.
The meeting that lasted for over 45 minutes was chaired by the chairman of the committee and PCC Chief, Saif-ud-Din Soz but the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and National Conference president, Farooq Abdullah, who are also the members of the committee, were conspicuous by their absence.
Though the leaders from both the alliance partners, emerging from the meeting, maintained that “All is Well” within the coalition.
Sources said that the meeting failed to reach any consensus over the incorporation of 73rd amendment of Indian Constitution in the state Panchayati Raj Act, part of which has been approved by the state cabinet last week. However, some of the leaders present in the meeting indicated that the elections, scheduled for January next year, are likely to be delayed for a few months.
The Coordination Committee, they said, agreed to constitute a 4-member team comprising two members each from both the parties to study provisions of the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India and ways to incorporate these in J&K Panchayat Raj Act 1989.
“The meeting discussed ways of incorporating 73rd Amendment in the J&K Panchayati Raj Act so as to fully empower Panchayats. We have come to the conclusion that we shall discuss and study the amendments for their inclusion in the State Act,” the JKPCC chief Saif-ud-Din Soz said.
“The Congress and NC will constitute a committee to discuss the 73rd amendment and we have a consensus that these provisions are necessary for empowering Panchayats and to further democratize rural local bodies,” he added.
Soz said the committee would see how best the Panchayat Raj Act for Jammu and Kashmir can be amended that upholds the spirit of the 73rd amendment of the constitution.
Sources, on the other hand, claimed that the committee was constituted only because the two sides expressed their own stand over the proposed amendments. “The Committee will now prepare a detailed report, which will be submitted to the leaders of both the parties for further action”, a Congress Minister said adding that the report would also be discussed with the Congress high command and the dates of elections could only be fixed after that.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister, Tara Chand, minister for Finance, minister for Industries, Surjit Singh Salathia, senior Congress leader, Mangat Ram Sharma and senior NC leader and MLA, Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan.
Though the chairman of the committee Soz and the senior NC leaders, present in the meeting, tried to down play the media queries over the recent controversy on Sham Lal Sharma and Mustafa Kamal’s verbal spat saying there was ‘no friction’ of any sort within coalition partners, sources, however, said the meeting discussed the issue and impressed upon further ‘strengthening’ of the alliance.
To a question regarding recent controversy following Sham Lal Sharma’s statement, Soz remarked, “The Coordination Committee is a competent unit and empowered to discuss the policies to strengthen the coalition. Like Sham Lal Sharma, Mustafa Kamal doesn’t hold any important position in the party (NC) and only the statement of Dr Farooq Abdullah should be taken as party’s view. With regard to the statement of Sham Lal, I was in the same public meeting and my view as a JKPCC president is the view of the party.” “There is no friction which can spoil and impair the coalition,” he maintained.
The Committee also held a threadbare discussed on the issue of regularisation of Centaur hotel employees, who haven’t been regularized even after 17 years.
“The civil aviation ministry has assured for handing over the management of Centaur hotel to the Jammu and Kashmir government. We held a discussion over the issue and I will meet the chief minister tomorrow and take up the matter. The chief minister would submit a proposal to the ministry so that employees are not left jobless incase of disinvestment,” Soz said.
The Committee also discussed functioning of five advisory boards constituted for Gujjars-Bakerwals, Paharies, SC and ST, OBC and Kissan and decided to make these functional at district levels.
In response to a query regarding absence of the chief minister and Farooq Abdullah, Soz said, “The CM had desired to attend the meeting but he had some engagements. But he had nominated Salathia and Ramzan. As far as Farooq is concerned, he is a member and is welcome anytime.”
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Dec 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Dec 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Dec 2010 00:00:00 IST
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