Describing the ongoing delimitation of panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir as a sham, National Conference on Tuesday urged the Election Commission to intervene and prevent “subversion” of democracy in the sensitive state. “The ongoing delimitation of panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir is a sham. We urge the Election Commission of India to intervene and prevent the subversion and murder of democracy in the sensitive state,” National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana said at Jammu.
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“Hugely motivated by political considerations to suit the ruling PDP-BJP coalition partners, the delimitation process also appears to be a concerted attempt to seek deferment of by-polls due in two vacant Lok Sabha seats of Anantnag and Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley as PDP has no courage to face the electorate due to loss of its credibility and disenchantment of people,” Rana said.
He alleged under the garb of holding panchayat elections, the government is possibly trying to send a message to the EC that two processes cannot be carried out simultaneously on the excuse of security environment.
He however added that panchayat polls were a far more bigger exercise involving all the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, compared to two parliamentary constituencies as they will entail heavy security bandobast.
He pointed to the passage of amendment to J&K Panchayati Raj Act 1989, nearly two years ago on the strength of majority in the Legislative Assembly when the entire Opposition had walked out of the House.
“Without any debate and discussion, the amendment was passed,” he said adding that the amendment has reduced the stature of sarpanch who will be elected by the panches and not the village community as a whole.
He said indirect election of Sarpanchs will encourage quid-pro-quo and lead to “Aya Ram Gaya Ram culture” in the state.
Rana said NC has exhausted all options while agitating against the “sham delimitation process” and even called on Governor N N Vohra.
He said the party has been pleading for an independent Delimitation Commission led by a retired Chief Justice for demarcating panchayats and wards in a time-bound manner.
He asserted that NC is prepared for elections to panchayats and the two Lok Sabha constituencies but the way the government is proceeding is not acceptable.
“They (the ruling PDP-BJP alliance) may be shying away from facing the people but we are always prepared to face the highest court of electors, be it Panchayat, Lok Sabha or Assembly elections,” he said.