Jammu: Former chief minister and opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah on Sunday dared Mehbooba Mufti to conduct panchayat elections on schedule and claimed that the coalition government has no nerve to face the electorate.
Omar while addressing the district presidents, block presidents and block secretaries of the party at Sher-e-Kashmir r Bhawan, stated that government lacks courage to conduct Panchayat elections on time. He said the coalition between PDP and BJP has not been beneficial for the people of the state.
“We won’t question the weaving of alliance between PDP and BJP but the people would certainly want to know how it has benefitted them and the State – and the answer is for all of us to see”, Abdullah said.
Referring to the security situation in the state, Abdullah said the security environment had taken a worst hit during past two years with ceasefire violations increasing, militant attacks swelling, number of security personnel causalities alarmingly rising in 2016 and the people living in perpetual fear. In an apparent jibe at the BJP, he asked, “What is their take on deteriorating security environment who were gloating that Pakistan can’t dare raise an eye against India”. He expressed concern over the incidents like Uri, Pathankote and Nagrota attacks and said that the border dwellers continue to live under perpetual threat.
The former Chief Minister referred to the unique but complicated 2014 electoral verdict and said that National Conference with 15 MLAs opted to remain in the opposition, realizing the dangers for the State in aligning with the BJP. “However, when an alliance was stitched by the present coalition partners, we offered constructive cooperation in the larger public interest but governance deficit, developmental inertia and fast deteriorating security scenario really betrayed the mandate”, he said. He said the coalition is trying to misrepresent works initiated during the tenure of the previous Government and nothing new has been done during the past two years of PDP-BJP government in the State and nearly three years of the BJP led NDA at the Centre.
“Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the projects launched during Dr Manmohan Singh’s term and our government in the State”. He asked the present dispensation to explain the utilization of Rs 80,000 crore under Prime Minister’s package on ground. He said public utility services like drinking water and power are in disarray, the schools and health institutions are craving for attention and rations have become scarce at CAPD sale outlets with the listed prices increased. While making a mention of frequent and premature transfers—2100 in two years—he said the governance is at its lowest depths and corruption is rampant. “What can be more alarming than a BDO getting transferred in Sopore area 18 times a year”, he wondered and said that the token attempt of fighting corruption by the present government by prematurely retiring several employees has started faltering with some of them getting reinstated through judicial dispensation.
Abdullah said life had gone out of gear in the Kashmir Valley due to few inches of snow and blamed the government for its failure in taking up restoration works.
Without naming BJP, Abdullah decried the attempts being made to create regional and religious wedge for furthering a particular political agenda and asked as to where were they who used to speak, day in and day out, about regional imbalance and equal opportunities. He expressed anguish over the harassment of tribal sections of the society who were being dislocated from the places of their inhabitation since decades and generations. “Their contribution to the state economy has been immense but they themselves are denied justice despite being part and parcel of these sensitive ecosystems”, he observed.
Referring to the deadline of 31st March for holding Panchayat elections across Jammu and Kashmir, the former Chief Minister urged the party workers and functionaries to prepare fully for the process, saying third tier of democracy is imperative for rural development. He said his government had carried out most successful Panchayat elections after 34 years and the party workers should emulate that spirit and identity and elect honest, dedicated and well meaning representatives.