Panchayat polls

The delay in holding Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir would further hamper the utilisation of Central funds given for various developmental projects at grass-root level. Politically whatever may be the game plan it is the common man who is at the receiving end with remaining devoid of all the promised development. It is quiet surprising that the process remains in stalled mode despite the assurance of Chief Minister to Centre about the starting of election process by December 1. Mehbooba for the last few weeks has been on ‘personal contact’ programme by visiting districts but that would be a futile exercise until the process of a three-tier governance system is put in first place. It looks political combine is not sure of the returns and deviates from the promises made in Agenda of Alliance thus depriving governance. It looks that governance is relegated to the political dividends and the government should set the deadline so that confusion created among the people about the conduct of panchayat elections could be cleared. And Chief Minister can win over the confidence of people that she kept her promise to empower the third tier of governance to enable Panchayati Raj institutions to discharge its statutory functions effectively and efficiently. The indefinite pegging back of the elections is a bad omen for a state where the whole concept of democracy has been reduced to the holding of Assembly polls. Parliamentary bypoll to Anantnag constituency has been pending since Mehbooba vacated the seat after getting elected to the Assembly in June last year. Now with state government and the Centre both agreeing that situation has normalized there should not be any hurdle for the conduct of these polls. Both governments have claimed that the situation has improved vastly this year as compared to the street turbulences of last year after the killing of terrorist commander Burhan Wani. Now that the Centre has initiated a dialogue and government has announced an amnesty for the stone-throwers, there should be no delay in elected panchayats to take over the responsibility of development otherwise message would go that State Government has succumbed to the elements who are managing the unrest-show in Kashmir.

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