Cabinet expansion may delay block, district; municipal polls

CC To Discuss 73rd Amendment Today


Srinagar, Jan 13: With cabinet expansion “fever gripping” the ruling National Conference and Congress legislators, the move has “cast a shadow” over much-hyped Block Development Council, District Development Board and Municipal elections.
 The decision to hold BDC polls continues to hang in balance despite the fact that Congress has finalized its report about provisions to incorporate in the State Panchayat Raj Act but has not discussed the same with its coalition partner National Conference.
 Talking to Greater Kashmir a senior National Conference minister said: “The upcoming cabinet reshuffle-cum-expansion has un-nerved all legislators. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s message that no favours would be done to any member (as for cabinet expansion is concerned) has created ripples in the NC camp. All ministers are facing the heat and are nervous.”
 “All NC ministers would resign to pave way for induction of new ones. Entire focus is on the portfolios to be distributed afresh,” the minister added.
 He admitted that the issues like BDC, DDB and Municipal polls are likely to get delayed following the fact that new ministers would take sometime to get acclimatized with the job. “Holding elections is not a new job for the government but it is not an easy task,” the minister added.
 Pertinently, the BDC elections were supposed to be held on November 7, last year but they were delayed due to Congress objections.
 A source said Chief Minister was keen to bring new faces into the cabinet to strengthen NC vote bank ahead of crucial 2014 polls. “Once the process of cabinet reshuffle would be over, the Chief Minister may begin the process to fulfill his promise of completing three-tier Panchayati Raj System in the State. But the process is destined to be a time consuming one given the work culture in JK and the formalities involved,” he said.

 Interestingly, the Coalition Coordination Committee (CC) meeting is scheduled to be held in Jammu on Monday (January 14).
 Chairman Coalition CC and State Congress chief Saifudin Soz confirmed that CC would meet at 3 pm in Jammu on Monday. “We will discuss many issues like how to conduct BDC, DDB and Local Bodies’ elections. We will also discuss the report on provisions of 73rd amendments,” he said.
 A senior NC legislator said: “There is no agenda fixed for the meeting. All the CC meetings held so far were without agenda. But it is more likely that Congress may table its report on provisions of 73rd amendment to be incorporated in the JK Panchayati Raj Act, 1989.”
 The legislator said the NC won’t jump the gun and instead thoroughly study the Congress report. “We will take our own time,” he said. “We have to see whether the provisions suggested by the Congress may damage the Article 370.”
 Sources privy to the Congress report on provisions said that the party has vociferously advocated constitutional guarantee for the five-year term of Panchayati Raj. “The party has demanded powers to dissolve the Panchayats should lie with the State cabinet only and not with the Minister for Panchayati Raj or any official,” they added.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 14 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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