‘No decision on schedule for Panchayat polls yet’: Govt

Srinagar—With the reports that government would kick-start the process to hold the much-delayed Panchayat elec­tions from December 1, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Mon­day made it clear that no deci­sion has been taken so far about holding of Panchayat polls.

“It has not been deliberated yet at the government level. Madam Mehbooba Mufti ji was in Srinagar and is coming back to Jammu. I can say that whenever decision regarding the holding of Panchayat polls will be made, media will be informed,” Asiya Naqash told KNS over phone from Jammu.

Interestingly it is reported that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has committed to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that her government would kick-start the process to hold the much-delayed panchay­at elections from December 1.

“Mehbooba told Home Min­ister that she would be under­taking the exercise of restoring the exercise in a quite earnest way and that there would be no further delay in holding of the panchayat elections. Chief Minister made this commit­ment during her meeting with the Home Minister on October 26, when she was asked specifi­cally as to when the panchayat elections would be held in the state because that was harm­ing the interest of the grass­roots democracy and depriving the rural people of the develop­ment that they deserve,” the report has said.

Meanwhile BJP State Gen­eral Secretary Ashok Koul told KNS over phone from Jammu that their party has not so far received any communication about the holding of Panchayat elections from government. “We have not received any communication. But it seems that the government will hold Panchayat elections soon,” Koul said and added that BJP is ready to go ahead for the polls.

Meanwhile one of the senior BJP leader said that party has asked the cadre to gear up for the Panchayat elections. “BJP was eyeing Panchayats in the valley after forming coalition government in the state. The Panchayat polls should be held as soon as possible in the state. The BJP will field its candidates in all three regions of the state and we are sure that people will vote for us,” the leader said.

Meanwhile sources said that Election Department was wait­ing for the fresh nod from the government. The election de­partment had started process during the Governor’s Rule with identification and rota­tion of reserved Wards.

Sources told KNS that the Government of India has linked many grants to rural areas with elected Panchayats and it was mandatory for the Government to hold the elec­tions to secure those grants. “If the new Panchayats were in place by this year then the state Government can claim the grants that run into several crores and could do lot of de­velopment in the rural areas,” sources maintained.

During previous Panchayat elections held in 2011 after a gap of nearly 37 years, there were 4098 Sarpanch and 29,402 Panch constituencies. The division wise constituencies included 2145 (Sarpanch) in Kashmir (includ­ing Ladakh) and 1953 in Jammu while there were 15767 Panch segments in Kashmir (including Ladakh) and 13,635 in Jammu.

It is to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra had promulgated an ordinance, by virtue of which the panchayat polls in the state would be held later this year.

“Vohra had given his as­sent to the promulgation of the Jammu and Kashmir Pan­chayati Raj (Amendment) Or­dinance, 2017. Governor had repeatedly been emphasising on the crucial importance of holding the panchayat polls for the establishment of a three-tiered framework of Panchaya­ti Raj Institutions (PRI), had approved the promulgation of the ordinance, during the Darbar Move period, so that no time was lost in starting the preparations for the pending elections,” the spokesperson had said. (KNS)

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