Panchayats To Boycott Polls For Reserved LC Seats

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AJKPC Lays Down Four Conditions For Govt To Accept
Srinagar, Nov 07: Claiming that the government and the opposition were hand-in-glove in denying them empowerment, panchayat leaders today announced to boycott polls for 4 legislative seats reserved for rural representatives.

At a press conference in Jammu, panchs and sarpanchs said that they would not become a part of the polls unless the government provided them security and incorporated the 73rd Amendment of the Indian constitution.

With ranks already having suffered several attacks, two of them fatal, they flayed the union panchayati raj minister for his “heartless and shameful” remarks that the centre would not provide security to panchayat representatives.

“No panchayat member will either contest for the 4 reserved Upper House seats or vote in the elections unless the government meets our demands,” the president of the All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference, Shafiq Mir, and general secretary, Anil Sharma, said.

Upset at the Election Commission of India for having notified the polls for the reserved seats, the panchayat leaders said that implementing the 73rdAmendment and holding Block Development Council polls were a necessary prerequisite for the process.

“Nothing has been done. No BDC polls, no District Development Council elections, and no zila parishads,” they said.

“It is ironic the elections to the four Legislative Council seats reserved for panchayats should have been announced when both MLAs and MLCs are dead set against empowering our institution,” Mir said, adding that the government had made no headway in establishing a three-tier local self-government system.

“Before calling for elections, the government should first implement the 73rd Amendment, hike the emoluments of panchayat members, provide them adequate security and set up the three tier system,” Mir and Sharma said.

“The state government has defeated the very purpose for which we fought panchayat elections,” they said.

“The opposition too has merely played politics on the issue of empowering panches and sarpanches,” they said.

“The ruling and the opposition parties are alike on this issue,” they said.

“Leaders and members of both camps say one thing in the legislature, and quite another outside,” they said.

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