[ February 15, 2017 ]
With government according sanction to the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the panchayat raj act 1989 the signals of holding panchayat elections under the amended act have been sent to the electors in Jammu & Kashmir.
The undemocratic approach of the incumbent government over the conduct of panchayat elections won’t give legitimacy to the Panchayats which had t
Recently when assembly was in session the government delayed the presentation of a bill to amend the existing panchayat raj act before holding panchayat elections obviously with the intention that opposition comprising National Conference (NC), Congress and some independents has some strong grounds to oppose the amendments to oppose the amendments. Since the incumbent government had already come in far sharp criticism on proposing some controversial amendments, the government intentionally created a situation to undemocratically force sine day adjournment of the assembly’s recent budget session just to ensure that panchayat elections are held under the amended panchayat raj act and as parts its well planed strategy the government took the ordinance route in the end. Knowing that the next assembly session would take up the bill for debate and vote in September after the conduct of panchayat elections and both debate and vote over the bill would be just a formality after the constitution of new states the government despite being aware of an unfavourable situation for the conduct of panchayat elections took to ordinance route in haste just to impose its will over both the opposition as well as the electors. So government has made its intentions of imposing an unwanted ordinance for the conduct of unwanted elections over an unwilling electorate and a helpless opposition. Interestingly the government has not shown hastiness in the conduct of lok sabha bye elections overdue for Anantnag and Srinagar constituencies but it has took hasty steps for the conduct of panchayat elections just to paint a picture of the restoration of normalcy after last year’s unrest which is showing signs of revival as is evident from Kulgam and Bandipora incidents witnessed in the aftermath of encounters between the militants and the government forces. Conducting panchayat elections under an ordinance routed to amend an act passed by the assembly and deferring lok sabha elections overdue now how desperately the government wants to impose its will over an unwilling electorate in the state. Panchayat elections due in July 2016 were deferred due to unrests in Kashmir and atmosphere is not still conduct for conduct any election exercise.
The undemocratic approach of the incumbent government over the conduct of panchayat elections won’t give legitimacy to the Panchayats which had to go to polls in July last year and above all the conduct of this elections exercise at the grass roots won’t change the situation on ground in Kashmir as people in valley are yet to recover from the trauma of 2016 unrest.
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