November 7, 2020

Environ for Political competition missing for key contests

Though Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has said that political parties are free to participate in the maiden key polls for the proposed district development councils (DDCs) but how would they participate when they are even denied the right to protest against the policies announced and implemented by the government in contravention of prescribed procedures and legal mandates in absence of a popular government. Recently few leaders of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) were asked to furnish bonds for their release from detention irrespective of the fact that they had not tried to vitiate peace and order at the protest venue in city centre Srinagar but had just dared to take out a protest march against the new controversial land laws in Jammu & Kashmir. Asking leaders to furnish bonds over their release on charges of carrying out a peaceful protest march against the recent controversial land laws shows that government does allow a suitable environment for political activities to prevail amid announcement of the election schedule for the proposed elections to district development councils (DDCs) in Jammu & Kashmir. To show that he is true to his word Lt Governor is obliged to create a suitable environment for a healthy political competition in view of his invite to mainstream parties for participation in the proposed elections to the district development councils’ (DDCs). Not the mainstream politicians but the government itself has created a row over the conduct of maiden elections to proposed district development councils (DDCs) as the government was committed to allow election of the members to the proposed district development councils (DDCs) from amongst the already elected panchs and sarpanchs who are part of the block development councils (BDCs) already constituted by the government before last year’s August 5 decision on erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state. The uniformity in the no of DDC seats of the district is also challengeable and questionable and the no of DDC seats of the districts should have been proportionate to population of the districts as a result of which no of DDC seats would have been different for different districts.

Allowing  elections to district development councils (DDCs) on party basis is though a welcome move but curbs on the freedom of the political activities of mainstream leaders and workers is against the spirit of democracy and would consequently not develop a conducive environment for political competition in the proposed DDC election. Curbs on political leaders unless law and order situation warrants so amid a massive election exercise for constitution of DDCs would bring in government for sharp criticism from people of all shades and opinions. Government is obliged to take care of the larger public concerns and ensure that public opinion does not go against it over the freedom for political activities. 

Surprisingly the participation of general is involved in the constitution of the lowermost and the uppermost tiers of Panchayat in Jammu & Kashmir but the panchs and Sarpanchs who are part of block development councils (BDCs) have been denied the right to election the way they were given the right to election for block development councils (BDCs). Allowing  elections to district development councils (DDCs) on party basis is though a welcome move but curbs on the freedom of the political activities of mainstream leaders and workers is against the spirit of democracy and would consequently not develop a conducive environment for political competition in the proposed DDC election. Curbs on political leaders unless law and order situation warrants so amid a massive election exercise for constitution of DDCs would bring in government for sharp criticism from people of all shades and opinions. Government is obliged to take care of the larger public concerns and ensure that public opinion does not go against it over the freedom for political activities.

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