Alleging an unholy nexus between the Congress and the YSRC in the ongoing elections to village panchayats, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday said the latter was nowhere in picture in these elections.
Ridiculing the respective claims of the two parties that a majority of the sarpanches elected unopposed belonged to them, the TDP boss said it was in fact his party which secured ‘majority’ sarpanch posts. “TDP-backed candidates have been elected unopposed in as many as 763 village panchayats,” Naidu said.
Speaking to mediapersons at his residence here on Sunday, the TDP boss challenged the Congress and the YSRC for a thorough debate on the issue.
While criticising the Congress for diluting the powers of local bodies, Naidu called upon voters in rural areas to cast their vote for TDP-supported candidates for better governance.
“If you vote for TDP-backed candidates in panchayat polls, I promise you that I will ensure that the elected candidates will take care of development activities in your villages,” Naidu appealed to voters.
Local bodies defunct:
The TDP boss claimed that it was during TDP’s regime that panchayats and other local bodies were strengthened.
“We had set up village secretariat in every village and delegated powers in 64 areas to sarpanches. But, after coming to power, the Congress government diluted the powers of village panchayats. The then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy had taken back the delegated powers from sarpanches in 54 areas. The Congress government over the years had rendered the local bodies defunct,” he alleged.
The TDP boss further said though the then Congress-led government at the Centre had made 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution for the empowerment of panchayats and urban local bodies, the party never implemented these amendments in true spirit.
“Congress is always scared of facing elections. Whenever the it comes to power, it always delays conducting polls for local bodies as it fears defeat,” he alleged.
According to Naidu, the panchayat raj system was the backbone of the state for the development. The Congress government had further weakened the system in the last nine years, he said.
Taking a dig at chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Naidu said, “Chief minister Kiran Reddy, who utterly failed to rescue the stranded Telugu pilgrims from Uttarakhand, is now showing overenthusiasm and even sending helicopters there for relief measures.”