JAMMU Jan 29: Taking a dig at coalition Government in the State, National Conference (NC) working president and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah questioned its decision of electing Sarpanchs through Panchs instead of direct election by people and termed it against the democratic spirit saying it will weaken the three tier system of democracy.
Addressing a convention of Party’s district and block presidents and secretaries at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan here today, Omar said the decision will also breed corruption and interference from Government in election of Sarpanchs.
He said under the new process the VLWs will rule roost and can bribe Panchs by paying them hefty amount for election of Sarpanch of their choice and the Sarpanchs will also be in distress to save their chair under the new arrangement. “To get rid of this corrupt process, you have to ensure that maximum number of Panchs should be elected from our party’’, he added.
He said Panchayat elections is a big test before the Party cadre. While in Jammu region, you have to face only one test in Kashmir valley the Party activists have to face two tests as the elections to two Lok Sabha seats of Anantnag and Srinagar vacated by Mehbooba Mufti after her election as Chief Minister and resignation of Tariq Hamid Qarra respectively.
He also urged his party cadre from Kashmir who are presently in Jammu to wind up the “Darbar move” as early as possible and concentrate in Valley in view of forthcoming Panchayat for which March 31 has been set as deadline.
Maintaining that NC’s priority will be to better its performance in the Panchayat elections, Omar said that maximum developmental funds will come through Panchayats and “we MLAs will be confined to CDF only”. “This is the reason that MLAs are demanding hike in CDF otherwise our position will be awkward’’, he added.
Omar said life had gone out of gear in the Kashmir valley due to few inches of snow and blamed the Government for its failure in taking up restoration works. He said the Government has not been able to meet the situation due to snow in the Srinagar city and one only wonders about the situation in hilly and remote areas.
The NC working president said that the security environment had taken a worst hit during past two years with ceasefire violations increasing, militant attacks on rise , number of security personnel casualties have alarmingly increased in 2016 and the people along borders are living in perpetual fear.
Taking a jibe at BJP, he asked, “what they say on deteriorating security environment who were earlier claiming that Pakistan can’t dare raise an eye against India”? He expressed concern over Uri, Pathankote and Nagrota terror attacks and said that the border dwellers continued to live under perpetual threat.
Without naming BJP, the NC working president decried the attempts being made to create regional and religious wedge for furthering a particular political agenda and asked as to where were they who used to speak, day in and day out, about regional imbalance and equal opportunities.
While expressing anguish over the harassment of tribal sections of the society who were being dislocated from the places of their inhabitation since decades and generations, Omar said they are being asked you have no right to use pastures for grazing cattle. “Their contribution to the State economy has been immense but they themselves are denied justice despite being part and parcel of these sensitive ecosystems”, he observed.
Stating that National Conference remained steadfast in its policies and commitment towards the people of the State because of its own ideological principles and legacy of service and not due to the failures of the PDP-BJP dispensation, Omar asked the party leaders and cadre to gear up to meet the challenges faced by the State and its people.
“We won’t question the weaving of alliance between PDP and BJP but the people would certainly want to know how it has benefitted them and the State and the answer is for all of us to see”, he said.
The former Chief Minister while referring to the unique but complicated 2014 electoral verdict said that NC with 15 MLAs opted to remain in the opposition as it realized the dangers for the State in aligning with the BJP. “However, when an alliance was stitched by the present coalition partners, we offered constructive cooperation in the larger public interest but governance deficit, developmental inertia and fast deteriorating security scenario really betrayed the mandate”, he added.
He said the coalition is trying to misrepresent works initiated during the tenure of the previous Government and nothing new has been done during the past two years of PDP-BJP Government in the State and nearly three years of the BJP led NDA at the Centre.
“Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the projects launched during Dr. Manmohan Singh’s term and our Government in the State”. He asked the present dispensation to explain the utilization of Rs 80,000 crore under Prime Minister’s package on ground. The public utility services like drinking water and power are in disarray, the schools and health institutions are craving for attention and rations have become scarce at CAPD sale outlets with the listed prices increased, he added.
While making a mention of frequent and premature transfers, he said 2100 transfers were made in two years, besides the governance is at its lowest depths and corruption is rampant. “What can be more alarming than a BDO getting transferred in Sopore area 18 times a year”, he wondered and said that the token attempt of fighting corruption by the present Government by prematurely retiring several employees has started faltering with some of them getting reinstated through judicial dispensation.
The convention was also attended by senior leaders, former Ministers besides party legislators and former legislators from Jammu and Kashmir Provinces
NC general secretary Ali Mohammed Sagar , and provincial president Devender Singh Rana also spoke on the occasion.