Fresh Panchayat Crisis

The fledgling Panchayat Raj system in the state is roiled by a fresh crisis following the call for resignations of panchs and sarpanches by United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin. However, this time government has been more open about its policy options in regard to providing  security to around 34000 panches and sarpanches. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been explicit about the impracticality of such an exercise. And he has now been echoed by the Union Panchayati Raj Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo who on Tuesday made it clear that it was not possible to provide security to all Panchayat representatives in the state. Deo has, however, sought devolution of powers to the panchayats to enable them to get on with their job. The thinking goes that panches and sarpanches with powers would be willing to brave risks as part of their job. Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the most vocal voice for the empowerment of panchayats in the state. In fact, he was instrumental in building a political chorus for the implementation in the state of 73rd amendment of the Constitution of India. Taking cue from him, Congress leaders in the state, led by their state president Saif-u-Din Soz have sought “adoption or incorporation” of the 73rd amendment in the JK constitution, something that has been ruled out by the CM. Doing so is seen as politically risky by National Conference which fears that it will be seen as the compromise of state’s special position under Article 370 by the people in Kashmir.  However, none of the parties has talked about the need to evacuate the panchayat institutions in the state of the politics that come to surround them. The temptation to see them as harbingers of normalcy pits them against the history of the past two decades and lends their role an uncomfortable political dimension. There is, therefore, an urgent need to depoliticize panchayats and restore to them their primary impersonal role as vehicles for grassroots development. Both NC, Congress and other political parties would do well to adopt this approach as part of their efforts to stabilize Panchayat Raj in the state.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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