NC defends, Congress celebrates Cabinet decision
PDP Questions CM’s Prestige; Tarigami Surprised
Srinagar, Oct 16: While the ruling National Conference is defending the postponement of Block Development Council (BDC) polls and Congress celebrating victory in a low-key manner, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) believes that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s prestige has once again been compromised.
The independent legislators have termed Monday’s Cabinet decision as an insult to the State legislature stating the decision should have come from the Assembly rather than the Cabinet. They also demanded that the Speaker should convene a special session of legislature before Durbar Move.
A senior NC leader, wishing not to be quoted by name, said the decision to incorporate all provisions of the 73rd amendment of Indian Constitution into the State’s Panchayat Raj Act (1989) and to cancel the BDC polls was the result of “coalition compulsion.”
“Though we were ready to incorporate all good provisions of 73rd amendment into the existing Panchayat Raj Act, but the reservation for Schedule Tribe, Schedule Cast and women had become a bone of contention between the alliance partners,” the NC leader said. He said after thorough deliberations the core group of the ruling dispensation finally agreed to cancel the already announced BDC polls.
“The decision was taken keeping in view the coalition interests,” he said and refused to elaborate further. Many NC leaders, when contacted, seemed tightlipped over the issue. The NC has agreed to cancel BDC polls till an ordinance is brought out on the matters of reservation, etc.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Rural Development Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar said the NC has agreed to incorporate “some good clauses” of 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution. “As for the cancellation of BDC polls, it was the done after almost all legislators demanded on the last day of the Assembly session that there should be reservation for SC, ST and women,” he said.
Sagar said some elements were misleading the people on the pretext that NC had bowed before Congress. On the fact that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had lashed out at the National Panthers Party (NPP) and BJP legislators for demanding reservation for SC and ST stating the election process won’t be stopped, the Law Minister said Omar had not ruled out incorporating reservation for SC, ST and women but asked the opposition members where were they at the time when government kept reservation for the Panchs.
In an obvious reference to PDP, Sagar said they (PDP) were the first to support the 73rd amendment in the Assembly and now they are terming government decision as wrong. “They should peep into their history before leveling allegations against NC,” Sagar said.
On the other hand, the entire Congress camp is celebrating the Cabinet decision. “We are obviously happy as both teams (NC, Congress) showed the spirit,” said Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief, Saifudin Soz.
He said the step was a welcome development and will provide more time to the coalition to identify the areas where State’s Panchayat Raj Act is needed to be improved and strengthened.
“Incorporation of further measures will also help to make Panchayat Raj system more inclusive and responsive. In my opinion, it is not a situation of any party being winner or any party being loser,” Soz said, adding that the coalition will together organize the process of reform and empowerment of the Panchayat System.
The development has however, evoked a sharp criticism from the main opposition PDP. “The Chief Minister has lost whatever prestige he had after dragging his feet on the revocation of AFSPA. He succumbed to the demand of his coalition partner,” said PDP chief spokesman Nayeem Akther. He said the NC-Congress dispensation took a step reluctantly by first setting the election process in motion and then canceling it.
“The step has further developed the cynicism among Sarpanchs and Panchs,” Akther said. He said NC has once again come to know that “Congress is the boss.”
Meanwhile, CPI (M) State Secretary M Y Tarigami termed the Cabinet decision as ‘full of surprise.’ “I am shocked to hear about the Cabinet decision. The decision should have come from the Assembly, not the Cabinet. Despite the fact the issue was discussed threadbare in the House, all of a sudden decision cropped up from the Cabinet,” he said. “The development has made it clear that there is no coherence between the ruling partners and the government lacks direction,” Tarigami said.
Independent legislator from Langate, Engineer Abdur Rasheed has termed the cancellation of BDC polls as a complete surrender of NC before Congress. “The government has proved yet again that whosoever rules J&K is a puppet in the hands of New Delhi and cannot move even an inch without the approval and consent of New Delhi,” he alleged. Rasheed reminded the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah of his recent hard-hitting speech in the State Assembly that BDC elections will not be postponed in any case.
The BJP has termed the Cabinet decision on reservation as “better late than never.” “The government announcement is exactly what we demanded in the Assembly. There, government didn’t agree, but it did the same in the Cabinet what we had been demanding,” said senior BJP leader Ashok Khajuria.
However, BJP has termed the decision to cancel the BDC elections as ‘politically motivated, illegal and undemocratic.’ Addressing a press conference at party headquarters in Jammu, BJP State President Shamsher Singh Manhas said that the party has been fighting for reservation to SCs, STs and women in urban and rural local bodies and now the NC-Congress coalition government has suddenly woken up to raise this issue as an excuse for canceling the BDC election.
Manhas said that the Omar-led coalition government will have to explain to the people under what authorization the Cabinet has over-ruled the decision of election authorities after the process for the BDC election was in progress and what was the urgency to do so. He alleged that the NC and Congress were never sincere in granting reservation to SCs, STs and women but now they want to buy time and avoid election because Congress is fast losing its mandate in Jammu.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 16 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST
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