National Conference today described amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act 1989 as direct assault on democratic ethos of the State, saying the people at grass-roots level were feeling deprived and disempowered.
“Instead of strengthening the mechanism of third tier of democracy and encouraging larger public participation in decision making at local levels, the PDP-BJP Coalition has ruthlessly hammered the urges and aspirations of rural population”, Provincial President National Conference Devender Rana said at a high level meeting of the provincial and district functionaries of the party of the Jammu Province at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this afternoon.
He assailed the PDP-BJP combine for bulldozing saner opposition voice at numeric strength in the Legislative Assembly and said the time-tested and country-wide acclaimed J&K PRC Act has fallen victim to vested interest, as the ruling alliance believes in ‘manipulating’ the elections of Sarpanches due to lack of support at ground zero.
“This is public acknowledgment of zero-base of the PDP and BJP in rural areas of the State. He said National Conference, which believes in people being the real fountain head of power, put its point of view over the negative fall-out of the amendment in both houses of the State Legislature but egoistic and anti-people government got its way and passed the Bill.
“Now the war against anti-people measure would be fought peacefully and democratically in every village of the State”, he said, adding that National Conference will get fully galvanized to generate mass awareness on the amendment which is aimed at scuttling democracy.
Giving gist of the role played by National Conference under the stewardship of Omar Abdullah in highlighting peoples’ woes and seeking reversal of various crucial decisions during the just concluded Budget Session, Mr Rana said that as a result of constructive opposition, based on logic, the government was forced to withdraw the New Industrial Policy and the SRO’s with regard to implementation of taxes before the Budget was even discussed by the members.
He said the flip-flop of the insensitive alliance speaks volumes about its administrative naivety and inexperience in governance. “This negative aspect of the PDP-BJP government has impacted every sphere of activity in the State as administration is finding itself rudderless due to lack of political direction”, he maintained.
Rana said that National Conference will mobilize public opinion at the ground level, in every Mohalla and village, against erratic power, drinking water, rations and other utility services. He said the government has failed in governing the state and in order to conceal its failure, the PDP and BJP were subtly promoting regional disharmony and communal polarization.
“We will fight these machinations, tooth and nail, as this is against the core philosophy of National Conference which stands for unity, amity and tranquility between various religious communities and regions”, he asserted, saying those dividing the people on religion and regional lines were not harming the interest of this pluralistic state but also weakening the basis of the country.
Addressing the party functionaries, former minister and senior leader Ajay Kumar Sadhotra reminded of the glorious ethos of National Conference and firm belief of Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in the unity in diversity of the State. “National Conference has all along worked for strengthening regional harmony and promoting religious amity, which is why Jammu and Kashmir continues to remain the jewel in the crown of India”, Sadhotra said.
“The State is passing through a most difficult stage, as the people are suffering for minimum basics like power, drinking water and rations”, he said adding that the farming community has been the worse sufferer as pumps for irrigational purposes stand defunct due to lack of maintenance and inadequate power supply. Salathia said the PDP-BJP should go for a huge course correction as hollow promises alone would not satiate the urges of the people, who they have exploited immensely.
Former MLC Vijay Bakaya lauded the party legislators for forcing the government to roll-back Industrial Policy. He said National Conference has a crucial role to play in the obtaining situation to carry forward the three regions in unison and promoting religious and regional harmony. Former MLC and State Vice President Rattan Lal Gupta said that the PDP_BJP government has lost its credibility in the wake of anti-people decisions, which they were forced to withdraw due to growing public pressure.
Gupta wondered over taxes imposed on the already suffering people of Jammu and Kashmir, saying this speaks of the insensitivity of the coalition government. Speaking on the occasion, former minister and Chairman NC SC/OBC Cell Babu Ram Pal said that legacy of Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was the only way-out to meet the crisis like situation generated by PDP-BJP alliance in the State.