Srinagar: Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir are divided over convening of the all-party meeting to decide about holding or deferment of Panchayat polls in the state. They are also divided over the timing of the polls.
Government has announced that Panchayat elections would be held from February 15.
However, JK Government had conveyed to the Government of India that the situation was not ‘conducive’ for the polls. But the GoI wants polls should be held on time. Now Government has decided to hold an all-party meeting on Saturday to decide whether to hold Panchayat polls or not in the state. All-party meeting would be chaired by minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Abdul Haq Khan on February 3 at Panchayat Bhavan in Jammu.
Main Opposition party, National Conference, General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said that his party is yet to decide whether to participate in all-party meet or not.
“Government is itself confused over holding of Panchayat polls,” Sagar said. “We will sit together and then decide whether to participate in the all-party meet or not,” he added.
Congress Spokesperson Ravindar Sharma, said that Chief Minster Mehbooba Mufti should have convened the all-party meet. “She is holding the portfolio of Home Minister and knows the situation better. We think that there is no fun of participating in all-party meet convened by Panchayati Raj minister Abdul Haq Khan instead of the Chief Minister,” Sharma said.
BJP State President, Sat Sharma asserted that his party was ready for the polls. “We have started campaigning in every district of the state,” Sharma said. “We will put our point in all-party meet that polls should be held in the state,” Sharma added.
Senior BJP leader Ashok Koul also mentioned that BJP was ready for the polls.
PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni said that his party will put its point of view in all-party meet. “Whatever our stand about Panchayat polls is, we will put in the meeting,” Madni said.
Senior CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami said that government should tell them what is its stand about holding the polls in the state. “Government first decided timing about polls then convened all party meet,” he told KNS. Tarigami said that he favoured that grass root level should be strengthened.
MLA Khansahib, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen said that situation was not conducive for the polls. “Polls should be deferred,” he demanded. Ghulam Hassan Mir, who is heading Democratic Party Nationalist, said that government does not want to strengthen the grass root level in the state.
“Government wants to keep all powers in Civil Secretariat and not holding polls on one pretext or the other,” Mir pointed out. “Government should at least hold polls in Jammu,” he added. However, he said he did not receive invitation for the all-party meet.
The Panchayats completed their term in July 2016. Elections were last held in April-May 2011 during Omar Abdullah led National Conference-Congress regime after a gap of 37 years. The government postponed these polls several times in the last two years.
(With inputs from KNS)