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M S Aiyer shown black flags by his party workers

Written by: Staff

Gangtok, Apr 1 (UNI) Union Pachayat Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer, who was here on a three-day visit to the state, was greeted with black flags and placards reading ''Aiyer go back'' by by his own party workers at the Pradesh Congress headquarters here.

Mr Aiyer, who came to the party office in the evening, went back shocked after seeing the black flags and the placards.

Earlier Sikkim Pradesh Congress Committee Vice President T Gyasto told newsmen that the executive body of the party in consultation with party President N B Bhanadari, who is now campaigning for the party in Asom, at an emergency meeting had decided to boycott the visit of Mr Aiyer to the party office for his statement.

Mr Aiyer during his visit to the state during in the last couple of days highly praised the functioning of the Panchayatraj institutions in the state and described it as one of the best in the country.

Mr Gyasto said the SPCC condemned the statement as Panchayat Raj institutions in the state were functioning in a "most undemocratic way" and various poverty alleviation programmes like old age pension, SGRY, Indira awas yojana, BPL, National Rural Employment scheme were not being implemented properly.

He also alleged that the beneficiaries for various schemes were being selected on partisan basis and the supporters of Congress party were being discriminated.

The Congress leaders said the state governor, who visited the entire state to assess the functioning of the Panchayatraj system in the state, was also highly dissatisfied with its functioning.

The Congress leader also alleged that Mr Aiyer, who was the party observer during the 2002 Gram Panchayat elections in the state, also saw how the elections was manipulated by the ruling SDF party government.

Mr Gyaso said SPCC President N B Bhandari had also informed Mr Aiyer about the "maladministration" and "corruption" resorted to by the ruling government before his tour to the state.

But despite that Mr Aiyer choose to give a good certificate to the ruling SDF government without talking to the Panchayat office bearers and the people.

He alleged that such type of certificates without verifying the ground realities demoralises the Congress workers and ruined the prospective of the party in the state politics.

He said this was not the first time that such kind of incident occured.

Earlier also good certificates were given to the SDF government much to the surprise of the Congress party by visiting Ministers like Shivraj Patil, P R Kyindiah and P Chidambaram.

But the SPCC would not tolerate such type of things anymore.

"By boycotting Mr Aiyer's visit we want to send a clear message to the party high command that this type of protest would continue if the central leaders did not change their attitude," SPCC members said.

Party workers and Pachayat office bearers affiliated to the Congress party hailing from from all the 32 constituencies told newsmen how the people in the villages were being denied the benefits of various schemes and ongoing corruption in Panchayat raj institutions.

Party Public Grievances cell Chairman S K Bardewa, Party political activities Vice President Tseden Tashi Bhutia shared the same views.

Mr Ayier is scheduled to leave for Delhi tomorrow.

Later the party workers sent a memorandum to Party President Sonia Gandhi.


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