July 2016 News

'Government Crushing Democracy At Grassroots Level In Jammu & Kashmir'

3 July 2016

Jammu: Attacking the ruling PDP-BJP dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir over passage of an amendment to the Panchayati Raj Act which allows indirect election of Sarpanches by Panches, the AJKPC on Sunday alleged the State government was crushing democracy at the grassroots level. 'The PDP-BJP coalition government has crushed democracy at the grassroots level for the passage of an amendment to the Panchayati Raj Act, allowing indirect election of Sarpanches by Panches instead of a direct election,' All-Jammu Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) president Anil Sharma said. Mr Sharma expressed serious concern over the government enacting a 'flawed and illogical amendment' to the existing Act of the State, snatching the rights of the people to elect their Sarpanch directly. Amidst protests and walk-out by the Opposition parties, the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council yesterday passed an amendment to Panchayati Raj Act. The government had moved a Bill to amend the Act in the Upper House which was opposed by the Congress and the National Conference legislators, who termed the amendment as a step to 'discredit and dis-empower' the Panchayati Raj Institutes in the State. However, the government had managed to pass the Bill. He said the ruling PDP-BJP coalition should not forget that J&K is a very sensitive State. Thousands of security personnel, people from different sections of society and Panchayat members have sacrificed their lives to strengthen democracy at grassroots level and put it back on track. 'Instead of decentralising the powers, the government is crushing democracy at grassroots level which is not in the larger interest of the State and the country,' Mr Sharma claimed. He alleged, 'The government's action is fraught with serious ramifications. It would encourage the use of money and muscle power in the Panchayat elections as the political parties would easily win over the elected Panches and get their people elected as Sarpanches, leaving deserving and genuine members high and dry'. He demanded that the amended Act be withdrawn.