Jammu, June 29: Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) on Wednesday,June 29 opposed amendment in Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, saying it is a "retrograde decision" by the government to negate the very basic concept of 73rd amendment of the Constitution introduced in the Act.
Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Abdul Haq Khan yesterday introduced the bill in Legislative Assembly to amend the JK Panchayati Raj Act which proposes to elect a sarpanch by panchs, against the existing provisions where panchs as well as sarpanchs are elected by the people.
"We oppose the government over this bill on elections of sarpanchs. The PDP-BJP government has taken a very retrograde decision to negate the very basic concept of 73rd amendment of the Constitution introduced in the J&K Panchayat Raj Act on March 14th, 2014 after a long-drawn struggle by the Congress party in the state," Senior Vice President JKPCC Sham Lal Sharma told reporters here.
He alleged that government wants to bring "drastic changes" in the entire Panchayat Raj system in the state. "The bill seeks to bring a total change in the pattern of election to the panchayats, especially that of sarpanchs," he said The former minister termed this a step in "backward direction to dilute the authority of elected sarpanchs."
"The elections to the panchayats had to be held as per amended law of 2014, which as per 73rd amendment provided for 33 per cent reservation to women, SCs and STs at panch, sarpanch and block level respectively and in district boards." He said the existing law also proposed for independent election commission for holding panchayat elections.
"The government has not appointed an independent election commission and finance commission as per the existing law. Rather it has empowered the chief electoral officer to go ahead with these elections, which is contrary to the 73rd amendment as incorporated in the state law", the Congress leader said.
Sharma said government also contemplates to change the representation of blocks in district boards. "The Congress vehemently opposes this move of the government. We will oppose it tooth and nail both inside the legislature and outside," he added.