Jammu, Feb 9: Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President and MLC G N Monga had brought an amendment bill in the Legislative Council to hold the Panchayat polls through three-tier system only and to elect the sarpanches through direct elections.
Most of the members in the House, including those from ruling PDP and BJP spoke in favour of the bill. However, as the Bill was put on vote, the Government managed to scuttle it. They forced the members not to vote in favour of it, thereby weakening the democracy at the grass roots level.
Commenting on the intentions of the ruling parties to hold the indirect election for electing sarpanches, Monga outside the House said, “The PDP-BJP Government has provided an opportunity for horse trading by electing Sarpanch through Panches. The election for Panchayat halqa should be held directly through three-tier system. The direct elections hold sarpanches accountable to people.”
“This Government deliberately made the Panchayats dysfunctional in order to interfere in the developmental works at grass root level to gain political mileage in the past. Panchayats should be allowed to function independently, without any kind of interference from the Government or any autonomous body in the State,” the Congress MLC demanded.
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. ““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 Panchayati Raj Act,” 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.