The Bold Voice of J&K

Congress seeks polls to J&K urban local bodies, PRIs under single election authority

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Jammu: The Congress on Saturday questioned the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s decision to hold urban local body and Panchayati Raj Institution polls under separate election authorities. Pradesh Congress Committee chief Vikar Rasool Wani, in a letter to Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, demanded holding the elections to municipal corporations and other urban local bodies under the state election commission, like those of panchayats, as mandated by 74th amendment of the Constitution. “The Congress has taken exception to the exercise for the conduct of ULB (urban local body) elections being undertaken without the superintendence and control of the (state election) commission, which is a clear violation of the 74th constitutional amendment,” he said. It is surprising that elections to rural panchayats are being conducted by the state election commission while those to urban local bodies will be under the chief electoral officer, the Congress leader said and called it “illegal and against the spirit of the Constitution”.

“We urge the Lt Governor to immediately set right the constitutional wrong being committed and hold the elections to the municipal corporations and other urban local bodies under the superintendence and control of an independent state election commission on time,” Wani said.
He questioned the two norms being followed in the Union Territory for the same set of the institutions of the Panchayati Raj system — one for rural areas and another for urban areas.
Wani referred to the Congress’ contribution in bringing the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution and their implementation in Jammu and Kashmir, like other parts of the country, guaranteeing 33 per cent representation for women in all three tiers of rural panchayats and urban local bodies, apart from proportional representation for Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
“Besides this, there is another important component of these amendments which mandated the holding of elections to these basic institutions of democracy under the superintendence and control of an independent state election commission, which though has been duly constituted in Jammu and Kashmir but having powers and jurisdiction over the panchayats elections only but not the urban local bodies so far,” he said.

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