Extending 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments to Jammu and Kashmir is a “direct attack” on Article 370, the National Conference said on Thursday, and slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party for advocating such “alterations.”
Day after state BJP president Ravinder Raina pitched for extension of these amendments to Jammu and Kashmir—which would give greater financial andadministrative powers to panchayats by putting in place a three-tier panchayat system—the NC’s general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said: “It is a calculated attempt to fiddle with the state’s special status. The amendments in J&K’s Panchayati Raj Act, brought in by then Omar Abdullah-led government, are far more democratic, egalitarian and empowering than the central government Acts.”
The “star feature” of the Act brought in by our government is the direct election of sarpanchs, he said, adding that “the BJP-PDP alliance in spite of our resistance brought in an ordinance aimed at diluting the state’s local body institutions. The elections to sarpanch were done away with in that ordinance and elected panchs were given the power to elect sarpanchs.”
Sagar said that it was “another attack by the PDP-BJP to weaken the State’s constitution and its laws. Thankfully the state governor intervened and revoked this feature.”J&K’s own Panchayati Raj Act is a “realisation of our party’s ideology that underscores the importance of greater say of people in constituting the local body institutions,” the NC general secretary said.
He said the National Conference “didn’t yield to the pressure” by its ally Congress during its tenure to extend the 73rd and 74th amendments.We were able to convince our alliance partner that the state’s own ULB and panchayat Act has given more powers to local body representatives than the central government Acts.”Sagar said the BJP in alliance with its partner PDP “tried its level best to dissolve the special status of the state.”
“The hallmark of the PDP-BJP alliance has been large-scale disillusionment among youth. They succeeded in surrendering our fiscal autonomy to the central government and were unrelenting in their attacks on State’s special status. People’s memory is livid with their intrigues, be it establishment of sainik colonies, application of central GST Act, questioning Article 370 or presenting a weak defense on Article 35 A in the Supreme Court.”
Sagar said that National Conference has “always been vigilant and protective of the interests of Jammu and Kashmir.”