JAMMU, Feb 9: Apprehending more Kalakote like clashes over the rising public resentment on segregation of mohallas and wards from various Panchayats as per convenience of workers from ruling parties in various tehsils and blocks, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) today alleged that PDP-BJP Coalition’ was trying to hijack the coming Panchayat elections in the State.
Addressing a press conference here today, PCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, who was flanked by PCC general secretaries -Vikram Malhotra and Manmohan Singh said that Govt has started undeclared delimitation of various Panchayats/ Wards in the State and moreover, in the absence of Independent Election Commis-sion as per 73rd Amendment Act, the elections are being held in the State. He said it is mockery to have delimitation of over 36,000 Panchayat Halqas in just one week of time.
The way this Govt is going for the ‘so called’ Panchayat elections in hush- hush manner, it creates doubt in the minds of the people of this State about its credibility, fairness and transparency in this election process. As per the 73rd Amendment incorporated on March 14, 2011 , there is provision of reservation for women, SC/STs at each level from Panch to Sarpanch, chairpersons of the Blocks and District Boards. It also reveals that delimitation of wards / Panchayats shall be conducted by the Election Authority. Earlier, prior to amendment the authority was Chief Electoral Officer but now under Amendment Act, the Election Authority for this purpose is ” State Election Commission” , which was not constituted by the Govt for the vested interests. Now this job is being performed by the CEO and officials of the RDD who are under the influence of BJP and PDP leaders and are following their dictates. The Act also provides that if a serving IAS officer is appointed as State Election Commissioner, he shall be deemed to have retried on superannuation from the date of resumption of office charge.
The PCC leaders urged upon the State Governor and the Election Authority to do everything possible in ensuring the legality, transparency and fairness in the entire exercise to maintain the faith of general public. The Govt must also set up Finance Commission which is mandatory before going for these elections. They also alleged that Government has not taken the opposition parties into confidence before going for the Panchayat elections in the State. The indirect election of Sarpanchs will give rise to horse-trading/ corruption for which the double standards of the BJP stood exposed, they added.