Panchayat Conference demands fresh elections

Panchayat Conference leaders during a press conference at Jammu on Saturday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Panchayat Conference leaders during a press conference at Jammu on Saturday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Dec 2: Accusing the Government of Jammu and Kashmir of deceiving them, Panchayat leaders of Jammu and Kashmir have demanded fresh elections of all local bodies including Panchayats and other democratic governing institutions.
Addressing a press conference here today, Shafiq Mir (chairman, All J&K Panchayat Conference) said that they had participated in these elections in 2018 and 2019 when all political parties had boycotted them in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Braving militant threats and boycott call of separatists, we had taken part in these elections on the assurance of Prime Minister of India that all governing powers will be given to the people at grass root level but unfortunately today we are feeling deceived. Instead of empowering us the Government has abandoned this institution by not announcing the fresh elections”, said Mir who was flanked by a large number of chairpersons of block development councils from across the J&K.
Mir said that the PRI system in J&K was established with large number of sacrifices rendered by Panchayat leaders who were killed by terrorists and anti-national forces for their crime of standing with this democratic institution but unfortunately Government has forgotten all their sacrifices.
It is pertinent to mention here that the fresh Panchayat elections in J&K were due in December 2023 but Government is completely silent on holding fresh elections of Panchayats and Urban local bodies in J&K. This was the only democratic institution in J&K since 2018 as there is no elected state government in J&K since 2018.
Speaking on the occasion, Panchayat leaders including Arun Kumar Sharma (provincial president AJKPC and BDC Chairperson Sunderbani) demanded holding of elections for all democratic institutions in J&K including assembly elections. They demanded to dissolve all three tiers of Panchayats to hold fresh elections or to extend the term of present Panchayat till fresh elections are held.