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Block Development Council poll postponed in J&K

By Mukhtar Ahmad
October 15, 2012 22:59 IST
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The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday evening decided to postpone the general elections of chairmen for Block Development Councils (BDC's) by bringing forth an ordinance.

"The panchayat elections were held in 2011 which was a historic milestone in the democratic history of the state after more than three decades.  About 80 per cent of the electorate exercised their right to franchise in this process. In the last one year the government took series of actions to empower panchayats and strengthen the Panchayati Raj system in the state by giving an effective role to the elected representatives at the grass root level," an official statement said on Monday evening.

"However, over the last couple of months there has been a latent demand from various stakeholders as well as opinion leaders, who have been associated with the governance of panchayats in different parts of the country, for bringing in certain changes in the state's Panchayati Raj Act in a bid to further strengthen panchayats and also make reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women," the statement said.

"Taking cognizance of divergent views on the issue, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah constituted a core group of the alliance partners, National Conference and Congress to study and evaluate these views and suggest a pragmatic and workable roadmap."

"The core group held a series of meetings and consultations in the last one week to consider the various opinions that have emanated in the past couple of months. The core group made certain recommendations which were considered in a high-level meeting chaired by the chief minister on Sunday attended by state Congress committee president, Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz wherein a decision was taken that the state cabinet should be apprised of the recommendations made by this core group for a suitable decision in the matter," the statement added.

"The state cabinet which met here (Srinagar) today after due diligence and thoroughly studying the recommendations of the core group and after considering the opinion of different people, decided that to strengthen the resolve of the government for a robust Panchayati Raj system, certain changes have to be incorporated in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, thereby creating a steel-frame of democracy at the grass root level."

"In order to bring these changes in a transparent manner after due diligence and deliberations with all the stake holders, the cabinet decided to bring an ordinance for cancellation of general elections of chairmen of block development councils," the statement added.

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