MLC election: ‘Why vote for a party that is destabilising local bodies of governance?’

KPCC spokesperson Priyank Kharge addressing a media conference in Kalaburagi on December 7, 2021.   | Photo Credit: ARUN KULKARNI

Terming BJP a party against decentralisation of power, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) spokesperson Priyank Kharge appealed to voters of local bodies’ constituency of the Legislative Council to defeat the BJP that had been doing everything to undermine local bodies of governance such as municipalities in urban areas and panchayats in rural areas.

“It was due to the Congress government at the Centre that, through the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution, the local bodies of governance had come into existence as a means to empower marginalised and unprivileged sections by involving them in the decision-making process. The Panchayat Raj Institutions and the urban local bodies have since then brought about a tremendous positive transformation in the lives of these oppressed sections. It should not be forgotten that BJP parliamentarian Rama Jois had challenged the constitutional amendments and certain sections of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, that had made provisions to reserve 84% of the seats in panchayats and municipalities for Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and women,” Mr. Priyank told mediapersons at the Congress office in Kalaburagi on December 7.

Putting the Karnataka Grama Swaraj and Panchayat Raj Act, which was enacted by the last Congress government in the State by incorporating the K.R. Ramesh Kumar Committee recommendations, in contrast with the Karnataka Gram Swaraj and Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill tabled by the current BJP government and later passed by the legislature, Mr. Priyank said that the former was to strengthen the panchayat raj institutions and the latter to weaken them.

“The Congress had made many provisions to strengthen panchayat raj institutions in terms of economic and political stability. Right to recall elected members, allowing panchayats to have their own annual budgets, the entitlement of various grants like performance grants and establishment grants, and increasing the terms of presidents and vice-presidents of gram panchayats to 30 months are some of the revolutionary provisions made in the Act. The BJP has, however, reversed them by passing the Amendment Bill that has diluted the Act and weakened panchayat raj institutions,” Mr. Priyank said.

He took exception to indefinite postponement of elections to zilla panchayats and taluk panchayats terming the move gross violation of the Constitution and the Panchayat Raj Act.

“In the past, some objections were raised to reservations and delimitation of constituencies in panchayat raj institutions. However, they were quickly addressed and the elections were held on time. The current BJP government is, on the pretext of delimitation and reservations, trying to indefinitely postpone the elections violating the Constitutional provisions... BJP is basically against local bodies of governance and there is no point for members of local bodies to elect BJP candidates in the imminent elections to the Legislative Council,” Mr. Priyank said.

Congress candidate for Kalaburagi-Yadgir local bodies’ constituency of the Legislative Council Shivanand Patil, District Congress Committee president Jagdev Guttedar, former MLCs Allamprabhu Patil and Tippannappa Kamaknur were among those present at the event.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 9:06:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/why-vote-for-a-party-that-is-destabilising-local-bodies-of-governance/article37879203.ece

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