Nov 7 Block Council Polls Cancelled

KL Report

SRINAGAR

October 15, 2012

Congress has finally won the battle over the issue of reservation in the Panchayat Raj Systems (PRS) as the cabinet has approved amending the relevant law, taking recourse to an ordinance. The cabinet, in post haste, has approved cancellation of elections of Block Development Councils (BDC) otherwise to be conducted on November 7.

Elections to the Panchayats, the basic to the three-tier PRS,  were held in 2011 which witnessed participation of about 80% of the electorate. Despite a series of initiatives on the PRS, the elected Panchs and Sarpanchs are still insisting they are dis-empowered.

The government, after the cabinet approval, stated that over the last couple of months there has been a latent demand from various stake holders as well as the opinion leaders who have been associated with the governance of Panchayats in different parts of the country, for bringing in certain changes in the state’s Panchayati Raj Act in a bid to further strengthen Panchayats and also make reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.

Taking cognizance of divergent views on the issue, Chief Minister constituted a core group of the alliance partners (National Conference – Congress) comprising of Minister for Finance Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister for Rural Development Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister for Forests Mian Altaf Ahmad, Minister for Industries Surjeet Singh Slathia and Political Advisor to the Chief Minister Devender Singh Rana from National Conference and Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Minister for Health Sham Lal Sharma, MLA G.A. Mir, MLC Ravinder Sharma, MLC Bashir Ahmad Magrey from Congress to study and evaluate these views and suggest a pragmatic and workable roadmap.

The core group held series of meetings and consultations in the last one week to consider the various opinions that have emanated in the past couple of months. The core group made certain recommendations which were considered in a High level meeting chaired by the Chief Minister on Sunday, October 14 and attended by President J&K Pradesh Congress Committee Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz along with other members from National Conference and Congress wherein a decision was taken that the state cabinet should be apprised of the recommendations made by this core group for a suitable decision in the matter.

The state cabinet which met here Monday after due diligence and thoroughly studying the recommendations of the core group and after considering the opinion of different people, decided that to strengthen the resolve of the government for a robust Panchayati Raj system, certain changes have to be incorporated in the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, thereby creating a steel-frame of democracy at the grass root level.

In order to bring these changes in a transparent manner after due diligence and deliberations with all the stake holders, the cabinet here today decided to bring an ordinance for cancellation of General Elections of Chairman of Block Development Councils.

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