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news details
JK yet to have separate election commission, finance commission for Panchayats
Political attachment makes aspirants vulnerable to attacks from militants
9/3/2018 9:54:22 PM
Jehangir Rashid
Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Sep 3: Jammu & Kashmir is probably the only state in the country that is dependent on the political dispensation when it comes to holding the Panchayat elections and elections for the local bodies.
With no separate Election Commission the dates for holding the elections for Panchayats and urban local bodies are decided by the Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu & Kashmir. It is due to the political connection the aspirants for Panchayat elections become vulnerable to attacks from militants in Kashmir.
Sources told Early Times the Panchayat representatives should be treated as merely representatives of people having no political lineage. The sources said that this would ensure that nobody is targeted by militants as and when the bugle is sounded for the Panchayat elections across the length and breadth of the state.
"The biggest tragedy with Jammu & Kashmir is that everything is attached to politics with the political parties on the lookout to score brownie points. It is high time that the people at helm should make it clear that Panchayat elections have nothing to do with the political discourse going on in the state," said sources.
Sources said that Governor Satya Pal Malik led State Administrative Council should issue a communication that the Panchayat elections are held on non-party basis. They said that this would make the things easy for the people who wish to fight it out for the posts of Panchs and Sarpanchs in the state.
"As on date there are very few people who would like to fight the Panchayat elections in the Kashmir valley. If the things are made clear that Panchayat elections would be conducted on non-party basis, there are chances that people in appreciable number would fight the Panchayat elections from the valley," said sources.
It would be in place to mention that since the 73rd amendment of the constitution has not been applied to Jammu & Kashmir there is no separate election commission or finance commission for Panchayats in the state. It is due to this fact that the decision to hold the Panchayat elections in Jammu & Kashmir is taken by the political leadership and not by the people manning the separate election commission.
Pertinently, All Jammu & Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC) has over the years been demanding that the 73rd amendment should be extended to Jammu & Kashmir so that the Panchayats turn out to be the real component of the local self government.
The AJKPC had met the former Governor Narendra Nath Vohra in this regard and projected the demand many times. The Conference has appealed the incumbent Governor to take meaningful steps in this regard.
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