Politics of Empowerment

State Congress has formed two committees, one each in Jammu and Valley, to decide on which provisions of 73rd amendment of Indian Constitution could be incorporated into J&K Panchayat Raj Act. The Committees headed by Ravinder Sharma and Ghulam Ahmad Mir  respectively are due to complete their exercise in a couple of weeks following which Congress seeks to make a case for the amendment to J&K Panchayat Raj Act in the coalition government’s Coordination Committee. The CC meeting is due to take place anytime after Eid.  The amendment has been a bone of contention between the two parties with National Conference refusing to adopt or incorporate it in the state’s Panchayat Raj Act. NC’s contention is that doing so would be detrimental to the state’s special position under Article 370.  Panchayat Raj minister Ali Muhammad Sagar is on record to have said that the 73rd amendment will not be incorporated into the state Act. However, he has indicated that some “feasible provisions” of the 73rd amendment which do not violate Article 370 can be made a part of the state Act. Subsequently, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah  conceded as much, saying no to the amendment and yes to some of its provisions. The question here, however, is not what provisions to reject or take from 73rd amendment but the empowerment of Panchayat Raj institutions in the state. And to this end, government can bring in the necessary amendments to modify the state Act without reference to the 73rd amendment. Such an approach to the empowerment of panchayat institutions will automatically rule out the friction between the coalition partners.  But considering that both Congress and National Conference have made 73rd amendment rather than the empowerment of panches and sarpanches their focus, the two parties are unlikely to reach a political agreement anytime soon.   This difficulty can be overcome if the coalition partners want to pursue empowerment of panchayats rather than pre-occupy themselves with the politics of empowerment.

Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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