SRINAGAR: Apni Party President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday said the protocol powers and honorarium announced for recently elected District Development Council (DDC) chairpersons and its members has exposed the mindset of bureaucratic set-up that has never wanted democracy to flourish in Jammu and Kashmir for its ulterior motives.
Taking a strong exception to the warrant of precedence issued by the Jammu and Kashmir government, Bukhari said the hierarchy of positions and its associated protocols for DDC chairpersons and council members is a technical attempt to defeat the purpose for which these elections were held for the first time in the history of J&K.
“The humiliating protocol powers and honorarium announced by the government for DDC Chairpersons and Council Members is in absolute contradiction to what the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister had envisaged for these elected representatives of the people,” he said, hoping that by now the government of India must have gauged the bureaucratic impediments that have always tried to uproot democratic edifice in this politically sensitive part of the country.
Bukhari appealed to the political parties to refrain from politicizing this issue which is a creation of an official fiefdom. “I don’t see any politics in it. Almost all the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are on the same page on this issue. I also appeal to the DDC Chairpersons and Council Members not to lose their hope and consider en masse resignation as the last resort to get this issue resolved,” he observed.
He said that bureaucracy has always displayed an unwanted and uncalled for repulsion toward democratically elected institutions and representatives in Jammu and Kashmir. “Just to retain their clout on decision making, most of the bureaucrats have seen the elected representatives as a serious threat to their relevance. I believe the bureaucratic set-up should help strengthen the democratic institutions at the grassroots level if they really want to serve the people in J&K,” he remarked.
Bukhari said the embarrassing announcement made by the J&K government has come as strong ridicule to itself as the successful DDC elections and the completion of third and last tier of the Panchayat Raj System was proudly showcased by the government of India to the whole world.
“These elected public representatives were showcased by the administration before the foreign envoys and through them to the whole world as a major democratic achievement after the recent hostile political developments of 2019. Alas, the same administration has now sabotaged the Prime Minister’s efforts on the first political outreach process aimed at reinforcing the democratic institutions at the grassroots level in J&K,” he added.
Bukhari said that the issue does not pertain to privileges and perks enjoyed by the elected representatives but the challenge it has posed to their writ on decision making and the authority given to them by their electorate through fair and transparent elections.
He solicited the personal intervention of the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister of the country to intervene into the matter and get it resolved as per their own vision with regard to strengthening of the democratic edifice in Jammu and Kashmir.