Srinagar, Dec 29: While welcoming the Government’s decision to hold Panchayat elections from February 15, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President and MLC G N Monga today said the Panchayat polls should be held under Panchayat Election Commission only.
In a statement issued from here, he said, “Past experiences shows how this government disempowered Panchayati Raj Institutions in the state. If the Government is sincere this time, it should announce the dates for holding three tier Panchayat polls in the Assembly. The past experiences show that this government several times announced the dates for holding the Panchayat elections, but later on one or other pretext postpone these.”
“The Panchayati Raj should be implemented only through 73rd Amendment of the Constitution in the state. The Panchayat polls should be held under Panchayat Election Commission which is in the Panchayat Raj Act,” the Congress leader said.
Stating that Panchayati Raj plays an important role at grass-root level democracy, Monga, who represents Panchayats in J&K Legislative Council, said, “This Govt deliberately made the Panchayats dysfunctional in order to interfere in the developmental works at grass root level to gain political mileage in the past. Panchayts should be allowed to function independently, without any kind of interference from the Government or any autonomous body in the State, because the autonomous bodies or Chief Electoral Office have no role in the functioning of Panchayts as per the Panchayati Raj Act.”
“I have also submitted a bill in the Legasative Council that the election for sarpanches should be held directly and not through panchs as this Government has provided an opportunity for horse trading by electing sarpanch trough panches. This process is the primary stage of the democratic setup. Therefore, keeping in view the importance of holding the power at the grass roots level, the Government should come clean and committed for empowerment of panchayats. The election for Panchayat halqa should be held directly through three-tier system,” the Congress leader said.
He also asked the Government to ensure the safety and security of Panchayat members before deciding the final dates for the polls. Monga said Congress Party is committed to strengthen the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) at all levels and it will not allow the PDP-BJP alliance to undermine the authority of these institutions for personal political benefits.
He also urged the Party workers to work with enthusiasm and reach out to the people for resolution of the problems facing by them.