Congress doubtful over holding of panchayat, local bodies polls in JK

Congress doubtful over holding of panchayat, local bodies polls in JK
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Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir Saturday expressed doubt over the holding of panchayat and local bodies elections in the state, saying the party would clear its stand after a review meeting next week.
He said the administration had announced the panchayat and local bodies elections without taking on board the political parties in the state.
“Yesterday, the administration set up a high-level committee to review the ground situation I feel the elections will be postponed on some pretext or other whether it is rain, snow or winter,” Mir told reporters here.
He said the state Congress leadership will be meeting on September 11 to review the situation and will come out with its official reaction.
Asked about his reaction to National Conference president Farooq Abdullah’s threat to boycott upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state if the Government of India (GoI) did not come clear on its stand on Article 35-A, he gave a guarded response and said “better to ask him and his party”.
He, however, said the validity of the article was challenged in the Supreme Court in 2014 and since then a number of elections were held in the state and the NC, too, participated in the polls.
“I will not comment on the statement of Abdullah who has been the chief minister of the state four times in the past and the Union minister as well,” he said.
He said the Congress believes in democratic exercise and will never escape from taking part in the elections.
“Panchayats and civic polls are meant to empower people at the gross-root level. Those elected have no legislation power and it is purely an exercise to ensure development,” he said, adding that the only concern of the Congress is the law and order situation and the security of the voters and the candidates.
He said it was up to the state government and GoI to decide whether they want to move forward or go backwards.
“Let the election commission issue a notification and set the process in motion. Congress will come out with its official stand,” the state Congress chief said.
“The governor has announced the panchayat election in the first week of next month but till date neither any notification nor any other exercise was undertaken by the state election commission. The high-level team announced by the governor has also not given any time frame to submit its report, which, I think, is time delaying tactics,” Mir said.
The government on Friday constituted two separate committees to ensure smooth inter-departmental coordination to facilitate conduct of elections to municipal bodies and panchayats.
Mir appealed to the people of the state to support the ‘Bharat bandh’ against fuel prices on September 10.
“Monstrous taxes being levied by the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has resulted in the skyrocketing petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices. The Modi government has already collected over Rs 11 lakh crore as taxes in the last 52 months by fleecing the common people of this country and by demolishing their budget and their house-hold incomes,” he said.

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