Tribune News Service
Jammu, October 9
Accusing the ruling BJP of bulldozing democratic institutions and gagging dissent, the Congress today decided to boycott the Block Development Council (BDC) elections to be held on October 24. The Congress had earlier said it would participate in the elections as a responsible Opposition party.
“We have no option but to withdraw from the BDC polls due to oppressive measures being adopted by the administration on the directions of the Centre to deprive the Opposition of its democratic rights,” said Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir.
The announcement has given a virtual walkover to the BJP as barring Jammu-centric Panthers Party, most parties have decided to stay away from the “much-publicised” elections — projected by the government as a move to empower people at the grassroots level.
The NC, PDP, Peoples Conference and other political parties have not fielded candidates for the polls, for which filing of nomination papers ended today.
“The Congress was the only Opposition party that came forward to participate in the elections to strengthen democracy at the grassroots level, but the government did not cooperate,” PCC chief spokesman Ravinder Sharma said, adding: “It appears the authorities are discouraging the Opposition to give the BJP a walkover.”
Sharma said the Congress had written to the election commission to allow movement of its leaders so as to mobilise panchayat members for elections but nothing had been done. The elections will see 26,629 elected panches and sarpanches elect 310 BDCs for the first time in the history of J&K with a view to setting up three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions like in other states.
Rs 5.5 lakh each for displaced families
New Delhi: The government has approved a resettlement package of Rs 5.5 lakh each to 5,300 displaced families who came from Pak-Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK). Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “The families will get a one-time aid under scheme for sustained income.” TNS
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