NC fighting on local issues; no mention of Kashmir issue

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Srinagar, Nov 16 (UNI) Appealing people to vote for the party, the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) president Omar Abdullah today promised to address the grievances of the people besides stregthening of the Pancyahati Raj system in the state if voted to power.

''If voted to power we will focus on addressing the grievances of the common man and will decentralise the process of governance to the panchayat level,'' Mr Abdullah said, addressing a series of roadside election meetings in Ganderbal constituency from where he is seeking mandate.

He said the NC believed that local self government at the grassroots level needed to be institutionalised and strengthened to ensure peoples' participation in decision making.

This, he said, was the only way in which democracy could become effectively functional and bring social transformation.

He alleged that the Congress-PDP coalition government in the state, instead of strengthening the Panchayati Raj system, made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to dissolve the duly elected panchayats.

Mr Abdullah promised that the NC government immediately after coming to power would hold elections to all the Panchayats and fully support them to discharge their functions as envisaged in the Panchayati Raj Act, enacted in 1989.

He said urban local bodies should be financially supported and encouraged to raise their own resources and reduce their dependence on the government.

The NC president said, ''My party has conceived an agenda for governance as it strongly believes that good governance is a primary requisite for overall development.'' However, during his speach, Mr Abdullah did not touch upon the Kashmir issue.

UNI BAS GT SK BST1823

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