Panchayat elections | Polls should be held under Panchayat Election Commission only: Congress

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While welcoming the Government’s decision to conduct Panchayat elections from February 15, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Vice President and MLC G N Monga today said the polls should be held under Panchayat Election Commission only.

In a statement issued here today, he said that past experiences show how this government “disempowered” Panchayati Raj institutions in the state. “If it is sincere this time, the government should announce the dates for holding three tier Panchayat polls in the assembly.”

He said the past experiences show that this government several times announced the dates for Panchayat elections, but later on one or the other pretext they were postponed.

“The Panchayati Raj should be implemented only through 73rd amendment of the constitution in the state. These polls should be held under Panchayat Election Commission as provided under the act,” the Congress leader said.

Stating that Panchayati Raj plays an important role at grassroots level democracy, Monga, who represents Panchayats in J&K Legislative Council, said, “This government deliberately made the Panchayats dysfunctional in order to interfere in the developmental works at grassroots 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, because the autonomous bodies or Chief Electoral Office have no role in the functioning of Panchayts as per the Panchayati Raj Act.

“I have also submitted a bill in the legislative council seeking the elections for sarpanchs should be held directly and not through panchs as this government has provided an opportunity for horse trading by electing sarpanchs through panchs.

“The election for Panchayat halqa should be held directly through three-tier system,” 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.

Monga said the 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.

He also urged the party workers to work with enthusiasm and reach out to the people for resolution of the problems they face.

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