Sonia concerned over bureaucratic activism's affect on Panchayati Raj

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Nagaur (Rajasthan), Oct.2 (ANI): United Progress Alliance chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that despite efforts there was a deterioration in the rural administration system and villagers' voice was being quietened.

She expressed serious concern over increasing bureaucratic activism in the Panchayati Raj.

Addressing at a rally organised here to mark the Panchayati Raj system's golden jubilee, Sonia Gandhi blamed State Governments of not holding local body or Panchayat elections on time for political gains.

"Several State governments did not conduct timely elections for local bodies and Panchayats just for gaining political mileage, which led to deterioration of Panchayati Raj system rendering them helpless. The role of the administration became increasingly important and the people's voice started getting muzzled," Sonia said here this afternoon marking the golden jubilee of the launch of the Panchayti Raj programme. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union Minister C P Joshi and State cabinet Ministers also attended the function.

On this occasion, Sonia mentioned about former Prime Minister and her husband Rajiv Gandhi's contribution to enact the Panchayati Raj Act.

"When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, he was saddened to see the condition of the people and took a pledge to bring a change in their living standards," Sonia revealed.

Sonia said it was due to the strengthening of the Panchayati Raj system, at least 1.2 million women in the country could freely express their voice on issues concerning them today.

She stressed that the Centre was committed to empower the Panchayats to enable villagers to fulfil the dream of first Prime Minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Sonia on this occasion also appealed to the people to strengthen the National Rural Employment Guarantee Yojana (NREGA) and Panchayati Raj.

Mahatma Gandhi championed the cause of Panchayati Raj, a decentralized form of Government where each village is responsible for its own affairs. His term for such a vision was "Gram Swaraj". (ANI)

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