Mufti Sayeed accuses National Conference of ‘double standards’

September 24th, 2011 - 8:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, Sep 24 (IANS) In a broadside against the ruling National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir, main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has charged it with double standards, saying it was depriving panchayats of due power while asking for greater state autonomy.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, former chief minister and patron of the PDP, said Saturday, “It is a sheer case of double standards in politics.” He was addressing a public rally in the border town of Ranbirsingh Pora.

The National Conference is demanding the pre-1953 status for Jammu and Kashmire when all matters — except defence, communications and foreign affairs — were in the hands of the state.

“Interestingly, those advocating greater autonomy are themselves scared of giving powers to panchayats,” Sayeed remarked while accusing the National Conference of delaying the devolution of powers to rural local self governments.

He pointed out that the ruling party had conducted panchayat elections on a non-party basis just to encourage horse-trading of village council members. Elections were held early this year but the powers of panchayats are yet to be defined.

“The National Conference has never allowed democratic institutions to flourish in the state,” Mufti said and pointed to the inordinate delay in announcing elections to the local bodies that were due in January 2010.

“Delay in the announcement reflects the dictatorial mindset of the present regime,” he said and told the gathering that elections to local bodies were held in the state during PDP-Congress regime after a gap of more than 25 years.

Mufti warned the government against conducting these elections on a non-party basis, which is against the spirit of democracy. “In case the government takes a unilateral decision in this regard, the PDP will openly field its candidates,” he said.

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