J&K coalition partners differ over empowerment of panchayats

J&K coalition partners differ over empowerment of panchayats

The differences between coalition partners – the National Conference and the Congress – over the empowerment of panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir came to fore on Wednesday with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad talking  differently.

However, on condemnation of the killings of panchayat members by terrorists the two leaders expressed the same view. While Azad supported State Congress President Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz’s assertions demanding the implementation of 73rd Amendment and asked the state government to empower the elected sarpanchs, Omar said the coalition partner’s demand was futile.

“There is no question of the implementation of 73rd Amendment in Jammu and Kashmir and Congress’s demand for the same isn’t genuine. We stand for empowerment of panchayats and our government is serious about it,” Omar told reporters at a hurriedly called press conference here.

Lashing out at terrorists for targeting elected representatives, the chief minister dared them to attack him if they have the power. “They (terrorists) are killing innocent panchayat members like cowards. If they have courage they should attack me,” Omar said. Earlier Union Minister Azad who is in Srinagar had backed Soz’s on the issue and asked the state government to delegate powers to elected members without delay.

100 panchayat heads resign

After a panchayat head was attacked recently in Kashmir, at least 100 terror-stricken panches and sarpanches announced their resignations through paid advertisements in the Valley, despite being given security assurances by the state government, reports PTI. Mostly hailing from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, the panches and sarpanches claimed they were resigning due to personal reasons.