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Panchayat and ULB elections will usher the era of grass root level empowerment: BJP

Welcoming the statement of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that the panchayat polls would be followed by elections to urban local bodies, Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson, Bharatiya Janata Party stated that the holding of these elections would lead to real decentralisation of power thereby empowering the grass-root level institutions in the State. The BJP-PDP government is committed to devolution of democratic powers and financial resources to the Panchayats and ULBs for realising its promise of holistic development. The all- round development envisioned by the alliance government cannot see the light of the day without the participation of all the citizens through these democratic institutions said Brig Gupta. The polls are being held due to the insistence of BJP leadership which continued to raise the issue of early elections at different forum. The sincerity of the BJP-PDP alliance in financial empowerment of the panchayats can be gauged from the fact that separate budgetary allocation for Panchayats is being made by the Finance Minister, a clear and welcome departure from the past.

As far as the ULB elections are concerned they are long overdue. The elections have not been held since 2005 wherein Ghulam Nabi Azad and Omar Abdullah led coalition governments did not dare to hold the elections due to political considerations depriving the state huge amount of funds due from the Centre. It goes to the credit of BJP-PDP alliance government that it is fulfilling the commitment made on the floor of the house in June 2016 regarding holding of elections to rural and urban local bodies according to the spokesperson. The availability of central funds to the elected bodies will enable them to improve the living conditions and basic infrastructure in the rural and urban areas with direct participation of the affected people.

Brig Gupta reiterated the appeal of the chief Minister for maximum participation of the people in the forthcoming polls and her passionate appeal to the people “to prefer ballot over bullet.” He also appealed to the people to ignore the boycott call given by the separatist leaders under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) and said that total integration with the democratic institutions of India is in the best interest of all Kashmiris. “The conduct of the elections will be a big challenge for the state election authorities and JKP and I have full confidence in them that they would surmount all challenges and hindrances leading to successful conduct of polls,” hoped Brig Gupta.