Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Need to hold ULBs elections at earliest

By Yudhvir Sethi

Urban Local Bodies in India are the constitutionally administrative units to provide basic infrastructure in cities and towns.Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Umar Abdullah and even former State Chief Minister Gulab Nabi Azad and many other seniors leaders, several times promised to setup the plan to install 3- tyre system for smooth functioning of government at various levels.

The State of Jammu and Kashmir has around 87 Municipal Councils and Committees. There are also 68 Municipal wards in Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) and 71 wards in Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC). It is fact that the main reason behind Kashmir and other problems in the state had been because some forces and regional political parties always sabotaged democratic institutions, be it assembly or other democratic institutions at grass root level. The formation of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) was must to empower the people of urban areas, adding that in a democratic system it was necessary to make representative character of all democratic institutions to ensure people’s participation in these institutions.

In a democratic set up, elections of local bodies is more important as compared to assembly and parliament but the coalition partners running the government in J&K are making fool of people or say squeezing the rights of people. Why the elections to ULBs which were due in January-February 2010 had been delayed again and again despite repeated assurances and even announcements. The ULBs were elected in January-February 2005 after a gap of 26 years.

First time unveiling of Statue of Maharaja Harisingh in the feet’s of Bawe wali Mata Chowk , Shourya Smarak of Dogra’s at Amphalla Chowk, computerisation of birth and death certificates and many others grass root level development in wards in Jammu and Srinagar were the highlights of last elected corporations. The Central funds worth several crores had been blocked due to delay in holding of elections to the ULBs.
Why there is unnecessary delay in the elections by state’s coalition partners? They may be fear of losing faith of the people and hence can’t take risk of their defeat before the forthcoming Parliament and State Assembly elections in March and September 2014. Congress, a national party, has only one agenda in this state as to how to remain in power. It doesn’t means with whom they are sharing the power either PDP, which talks of self rule or NC, with the slogan of Greater Autonomy.

Taking advantage of the Article 370, the successive state governments always crush the constitutional rights of citizens in this state while other parts of the country keep enjoying constitutionally provided administrative units.

Jammu and Kashmir is already facing problems on account of across the border trained militancy. One cannot understand why in India the political parties always look through every situation and development with a sole target of votes. Why our politicians forget that they too have obligations towards their nation and that nothing is above nation. Why it is considered that votes are more important than the nation? Till today the people think oppressed themselves in this state. States needs democratic decentralization of powers to streamline the present situation.

After Independence, the successive governments, mostly run by the National Conference with other political parties, blundered with the sentiments of people and that’s why the people lost the faith in the political parties. May be this is the reason that the situation of this state tops to the worst in terrorist activity for the last several years. What has happened in the past could have never happened again in this state had the governments conducted timely elections at all the levels so that the people could have felt themselves free and not suppressed. Still it is time that the State government should realise the need to awake, shed vote bank politics and work towards the development.

The Government has to think with broader expects as today people want development. Hence it’s very much important to hold the elections and get democratic setup stronger at grassroots level. Local bodies elections will help as life saving pills to strengthen the state’s democracy in all aspects and at all levels. Every time excuses like Amaranth yatra , disturbances ,bad weather, stone pelting, law & order problem, delay in preparing updated voter lists etc will obviously let down the credibility of the government among the people, which claims to be of the people, for the people and by the people.

(Opinions expressed in write-ups/articles/Letters are the sole responsibility of the authors and they may not represent the

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