Srinagar: With reports about government contemplating to kick start the local body poll process in the next month, a Minister in the government said that no decision has been taken on this issue.
Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Asiya Naqash told a local news gathering agency that no decision has been taken so far about holding of Panchayat polls.
“It has not been deliberated yet at the government level. Mehbooba Mufti ji was in Srinagar and is coming back to Jammu. I can say that whenever decision regarding the holding of Panchayat polls will be made, media will be informed,” Asiya Naqash said.
Interestingly, it was reported that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has committed to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that her government would kick-start the process to hold the much-delayed panchayat elections from December 1.
“Mehbooba told the Home Minister that she would be undertaking the exercise of restoring the exercise in a quite earnest way and that there would be no further delay in holding of the panchayat elections. Chief Minister made this commitment during her meeting with the Home Minister on October 26, when she was asked specifically as to when the panchayat elections would be held in the state because that was harming the interest of the grassroots democracy and depriving the rural people of the development that they deserve,” the report had said.
Meanwhile, BJP State General Secretary Ashok Koul said that their party has not so far received any communication about the holding of Panchayat elections from the government.
“We have not received any communication. But it seems that the government will hold Panchayat elections soon,” Koul said and added that BJP is ready to go ahead for the polls.
Meanwhile, one of the senior BJP leader said that party has asked the cadre to gear up for the Panchayat elections.
“BJP was eyeing Panchayats in the valley after forming coalition government in the state. The Panchayat polls should be held as soon as possible in the state. The BJP will field its candidates in all three regions of the state and we are sure that people will vote for us,” the leader said.
Sources said that Election Department was waiting for the fresh nod from the government. The election department had started the process during the governor’s rule with identification and rotation of reserved wards.
Sources said that the Government of India has linked many grants to rural areas with elected Panchayats and it was mandatory for the government to hold the elections to secure those grants.
“If the new Panchayats were in place by this year then the state government can claim the grants that run into several crores and could do lot of development in the rural areas,” sources maintained.
During previous Panchayat elections held in 2011 after a gap of nearly 37 years, there were 4098 Sarpanch and 29,402 Panch constituencies. The division wise constituencies included 2145 (Sarpanch) in Kashmir (including Ladakh) and 1953 in Jammu while there were 15767 Panch segments in Kashmir (including Ladakh) and 13,635 in Jammu.
It is to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra had promulgated an ordinance, by virtue of which the Panchayat polls in the state would be held later this year.
“Vohra had given his assent to the promulgation of the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017. The governor who had repeatedly been emphasising on the crucial importance of holding the panchayat polls for the establishment of a three-tiered framework of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI), had approved the promulgation of the ordinance, during the Darbar Move period, so that no time was lost in starting the preparations for the pending elections,” the spokesperson had said. (KNS)