JAMMU: Describing the ongoing delimitation of Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir as sham, National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana on Tuesday urged the Election Commission of India to intervene and prevent the “subversion and murder of democracy” in the sensitive state.
“Hugely motivated by political considerations to suit the ruling PDP-BJP coalition partners, the delimitation process also appears to be a converted attempt to seek deferment of bye-polls due for 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 at a press conference at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan here this afternoon.
Flanked by senior party leaders and legislators of the Jammu region, Rana said that under the garb of holding Panchayat elections, the government was possibly trying to send a message to the ECI that two processes cannot be carried out simultaneously, especially on the excuse of security environment.
He, however, hurriedly added that the Panchayat elections were far more a bigger exercise, involving all the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, compared to two parliamentary constituencies as the former will entail heavy security bandhobast. In these circumstances, he hoped the ECI will maintain its high degree of impartiality and intervene in stopping “the “manipulative” delimitation process that “will certainly betray the trust of people” in democratic institutions and weaken democracy in the state.
Elaborating on the ongoing delimitation process, Rana said the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act envisages holding of elections to grass roots level democratic institutions as per the electoral roll as on January 1 of the particular year when polls are to be conducted and in case these are not upgraded and revised, the process has to be undertaken on the basis of notified electoral rolls of the previous year. “However, in the instant delimitation process, the government has fixed 2011 Census as bench mark, which does not only negate the spirit of the Act but also reflects the scant regard of the insensitive coalition for efficacy of the Panchayati Raj System,” he said. He pointed out to the passage of amendment to J&K Panchayati Raj Act 1989 nearly two years ago at 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 Panchs and not the village community as a whole. He said the indirect election of Sarpanchs will encourage quid-pro-quo and lead to “Aya Ram Gaya Ram culture” across the state.