'Scrap Ordinance on Panchayat Polls'

Published: 25th August 2015 03:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th August 2015 08:23 AM   |  A+A-

CHANDIGARH: Calling the BJP Government in Haryana totally directionless, former state Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Monday said the government should scrap the ordinance making educational qualification for panchayat elections mandatory, increase old age pension and implement its poll manifesto.

Blaming the government for rising prices, Hooda said the price of onion, petrol and beer in the state was the same at Rs 75, whereas dal and meat were both priced at Rs 120.

“The state government’s decision imposing educational and other qualifications on panchayat poll aspirants was undemocratic. The ordinance should be withdrawn immediately,” Hooda said.

The Haryana Government on August 11 decided to amend the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act, 1994. The ordinance fixed Class VIII as minimum qualification for SC and women candidates and Class X for candidates of other categories. The candidates should ensure that they have functional toilets in their homes.

Those with criminal charges against them and loan defaulters would also be barred from contesting elections.  The Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the decision, following a petition from a woman candidate.

“If statistics of panchayat elections is checked, 60 per cent men and 81 per cent women in the general category will lose the right to contest if the new rules are applied. As for Scheduled Caste candidates, 62 per cent men and 83 per cent women will be ineligible to contest. Does this government think that 71 per cent of the population is just to cast votes and not contest,” said Hooda.

“People want to know if MPs and MLAs can be uneducated and still make laws, why are qualifications being prescribed for panchayat elections,” he added.

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