JAMMU, Feb 26: Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) general secretary and Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan (RGPRS), convener for J&K, Shahnawaz Choudhary today said that State Government was hell bent to weaken the Panchayati Raj system in the State.
Addressing a press conference at Congress office here today, Shahnawaz threatened to launch agitation against Government for denying direct election of sarpanchs and weakening Panchayati Raj institutions. He said conducting indirect elections and centralizing Panchayats will lead to weakening of the institution. Instead of strengthening the institution, the Government has disturbed the basics of democracy.
He said the previous Government had tried to strengthen the Panchayati Raj in the State by passing the Bill in the Assembly as per the provisions of 73rd Amendment but the PDP- BJP Govt instead of implementing it, has further diluted even the old State Panchayati Raj Act and have imposed indirect elections in Panchayats, which has lost the faith among the people of State on the present Govt. This will give rise to `horse- trading’ only, he added.
Coming down on the Government, Shahnawaz alleged that this is murder of democracy and they have decided to go among the people and aware them about the undemocratic steps taken by the Government. He said that the bifurcation of wards is being done within a short period of time by the Rural Development Department, which is a Government department and it is not acceptable.Instead of engaging RDD, the Government should have given task of bifurcation to an independent commission to restore confidence of people.
He said that the Panchayat elections which the Govt will conduct would not be fair under the present system and it should be made transparent. He suggested that bifurcation of wards should be as per the number of voters and not according to censes 2011 which is being done by the RDD.
He said that Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan, J&K is going to start State wide awareness campaign and agitation against the PDP- BJP Govt shortly.
Sandeep Sharma, Vijay Tagotra, Surjeet Singh, Mohd Aslam and Hamid Khokhar were also present during the press conference.