Govt likely to hold Panchayat elections on non-party basis
Jammu, Nov 21: Jammu and Kashmir government has almost made up its mind to go ahead with the elections of rural local bodies (Panchayats) on non-party basis and formal announcement is expected to be made after process for revision of voter list is completed.
Sources said the state government is campaigning with the political parties to support the “non-party basis elections” to the Panchayats and many of them have agreed to the proposal.
The Chief Electoral Officer of the State B R Sharma said: “It was decided during a recent all party meeting represented by leaders of all the major parties that elections should be held on non-party basis”.
It was reliably learnt, despite absence of the two major opposition political parties in the all party meeting, the government is likely to go ahead with the elections on non-party basis. The matter is also expected to be deliberated upon by the coalition alliance well before the formal announcement is made.
“The coalition government is eager to hold Panchayat elections at the appropriate time as soon as possible. The Coalition’s Coordination Committee will meet soon to decide about the Panchayat elections”, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz, said. The party has, however, publicly favoured the move. “Our main focus will be on encouraging those persons who have worked for the people and enjoy public trust as it would help in strengthening the democracy at grassroots level,” he told Greater Kashmir over phone.
“We are for the open candidates, who have strong following at their respective blocks even if they have no affiliation with any political party,” Soz said.
However, the conspicuous absence of People’s Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) from the all party meet indicates that reaching on the consensus of holding the election on non-party basis is yet far from reality.
The PDP leaders describe the move by the government as an attempt to hide its ‘deficiency’. “They fear to face the people owing to their two years of mis-governance”, some of the PDP leader opined while talking to the Greater Kashmir.
They said while all over the country the elections to the Panchayats are held on party basis, the coalition government is desperate to go ahead to hide their ‘deficiencies’ and avoid facing people. “Once the elections are over they will start owning the winning candidates as belonging to their own parties” they observed.
On the other hand the party spokesman Nayeem Akhtar, when contacted, said that the party is yet to decide on the issue. “The party leadership will soon to discuss the matter”, he said.
Expressing similar views, the BJP state president Samsher Singh Manhas said “We want that people having clean image should hold the Panchayats as it is the best way to strengthen democracy at grassroots level, but government should first implement the provisions of 73rd and 74th amendment of the Constitution”.
“We believe that present government will again hijack the entire process as they are power hungry. We believe that good people should come and BJP will support anyone having clean image”,
Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir have seen postponement due to various reasons including the recent unrest in the Valley. Earlier state government had announced that the elections would be held in December.
The state has 2,700 panchayats out of which elections were held in about 1,900 in 2001 and since then they have not been conducted. A substantial amount of funds remain unutilized due to non-establishment of panchayats in the state.
As per the estimate Jammu and Kashmir is losing nearly Rs 260 crores annually in Central assistance as Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir have not been held since 2001.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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