Rahul Gandhi to visit Valley next week
Panchayat Issue To Figure In Talks With Omar
PANCHAYAT ROW DEEPENS
New Delhi, Sep 29: Amidst trading of charges between the ruling coalition partners Congress and the National Conference on empowering and security threats to elected Sarpanchs and Panchs, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit Kashmir valley on October 4 and 5.
He is visiting the Valley primarily to lay the foundation stone of the ambitious 13 KM long Zojila tunnel project in the presence of Surface Transport Minister CP Joshi and participate in the National Executive Committee meeting of the Indian Youth Congress in Srinagar. A wide ranging debate on the security threat to the elected Panchayat members and their empowerment through adoption of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendment by the state are also likely to figure during his discussions with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.
Gandhi is likely to address the IYC meeting on October 4. More importantly, a meeting of the Sarpanchs and Panchs is also being organised wherein he will have a first-hand account of the problems being faced by them on the ground. Even before they came under fire, the elected members have been clamoring for greater financial and operational powers ever-since they were elected one and a half years back. Their demand was vehemently opposed by the legislators which pushed the state government into indecisiveness on the issue.
The All India Congress Committee sources said that although no structured discussion or formal meeting has yet been scheduled between the two leaders who enjoy a close relationship, but the contentious issue, which has led to a slanging match between the senior leaders of the two alliance partners, is likely to figure during the proposed Zojila tunnel function. “There is a strong possibility of this issue being discussed on the sidelines of the function,” a senior Congress leader connected with Gandhi’s tour plan said.
Gandhi’s visit to Kashmir has assumed added significance amidst reports of differences having cropped up between him and the Chief Minister over empowering of elected Panchayat members. However, Law Minister Salman Khurshid dismissed the reports while maintaining that the members should be given power across the country “without any exception”.
The issue precipitated after Omar outrightly rejected the Congress demand for adoption of the two Constitutional amendments by the state. Stating that these Amendments were not needed, he had recently offered that the state will have its own version of the law.
Omar recently stated that he has taken a stand on the two Constitutional Amendments only after two senior Congress ministers of his cabinet had strongly opposed the move. This in turn evoked sharp response in the AICC circles. Recently, the JKPCC chief Saifuddin Soz was learnt to have conveyed his party’s displeasure to him and made a strong case for adoption of the Amendments.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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