Panchayat elections an opportunity to turn the tide in favour of Congress: Sham

GJ REPORT
JAMMU, JAN 12: Describing grass-root level democratic institutions pivotal for transformation of rural areas in terms of development, senior vice president J&K PCC and former minister Sham Lal Sharma exhorted the cadre to gear up for upcoming Panchayat elections.
“Massive participation of youth and women is imperative for ensuring their effective involvement in decision making at local levels,” Sham said while addressing Congress delegates at a meeting in Akhnoor.
He exuded confidence that the sagacious voters would elect dedicated and public spirited representatives, who would change the rural scenario by their innovative ideas. The development of rural areas and improvement of civic amenities in urban and semi-urban areas assume significance in view of the population explosion and growing needs of populace, he added. Sharma said the ensuing elections will give new dimension to political discourse in the State with politically sagacious people signalling a change to undo the wrongs committed by the present coalition government. He referred to the amendment in the Panchayati Raj Act 1989 mainly to have indirect election of Sarpanchs and said this will weaken the system and give rise to manipulations.
“We will restore back the spirit of the Panchayat Raj Act as per urges and aspirations of the people, once we come with a clear mandate and undo the wrong with two-third majority”, he added. He further asked the cadre to further intensify their mass contact programme, fan out in their areas and seek massive participation of voters in the upcoming democratic exercise. Speaking on the occasion, Shahnawaz Choudhary, general secretary JKPCC said that conducting indirect elections and centralizing Panchayats will lead to weakening of the institution. The previous Government had tried to strengthen the Panchayati Raj in the State by passing the Bill in the Assembly as per the provisions of 73rd amendment. But, the PDP-BJP Government instead of implementing it has further diluted even the old State Panchayati Raj Act and have imposed indirect elections in Panchayats, he said.