NEW DELHI: The Modi government, determined not to let the Congress take credit for the decentralisation of governance, is planning a mega event on Panchayati Raj Day – April 24 – this year.
This will be the first time Panchayati Raj Day will be celebrated outside the four walls of Vigyan Bhavan, the de facto venue for all mundane government functions. The function will be held, this time, in Jamshedpur where Panchayat heads from across the country will gather. BJP Chief Ministers are also expected to attend the function.
According to a source, the decision to mark the day in this manner was taken by the Prime Minister himself. The Prime Minister will be giving awards to the best panchayats selected by the Panchayat Raj Ministry. He would also be reaching out to the gram sabhas that day. In his speech, which will be relayed to all gram sabhas, Modi is expected to highlight his party’s commitment to the development of rural India.
He is also expected to announce some rural schemes. It is also likely that the Prime Minister will blame the UPA government’s policies for having created rural distress. “The ruling party seems to be determined to take away the credit for decentralisation from the Congress, which had ushered in decentralisation during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure,” said the official.
The BJP, during its recent national executive, had focused its attention on the rural theme of the Budget and had attacked the Congress for pushing country first into “social cronyism and then capital cronyism”. The BJP had also accused the Congress-led UPA government of subverting the Panchayati Raj institution by not decentralising powers to local bodies. At the same time, it had hailed the Modi government for ushering in “true panchayati raj” by sanctioning `80 lakh for every village and `21 crore for small townships.