Jammu, Nov 7: Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (JKPC)- an organisation claiming to represent Sarpanchs and Panchs of the State- today threatened to stay out of the election process for four seats of Legislative Council scheduled for December.
The Election Commission of India this week announced the schedule for holding the polls for the four seats – two each from Kashmir and Jammu – reserved for the rural local bodies. “The State Government has managed to get the elections announced at a time when there is complete chaos in view of the threats from some militant organizations,” members of JKPC told media persons here. “It is a clear attempt of the State and Central Government to divert the attention of Panchs and Sarpanchs from the issue of Panchayat empowerment,” Chairman JKPC Shafiq Mir said.
As per the procedure, the Sarpanchs and Panchs comprise the Electoral College for the elections. Every Panchayat member would cast two votes in separate Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
“We are supposed to strengthen democracy at grass root level. But right now we are more concerned for our safety and security, not for becoming MLCs,” Mir said, adding that before announcing the elections the State Government should have implemented 73rd amendment of Indian Constitution.
The elections on the four reserved seats are due for nearly four decades. Last time the election for these seats was held in 1974.
The organisation has urged the Election Commission of India (EIC) to revisit the decision of holding the elections at this stage. “These elections should be held after three-tier system of the Panchayat Raj is established, which includes constitution of Block Development Councils, District Development and Planning Board and Panchayat level judicial bodies,” Mir said.
General Secretary JKPC, Anil Sharma, accused the opposition parties of not raising the issue of Panchayat empowerment and playing politics over the issue.
He further criticized the statement of Union Panchayat Raj Minister wherein he had shown helplessness in providing security to Panchs and Sarpanchs in J&K.

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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