Panchayat Raj Act: All-party meet opposes amendments in Telangana

Leaders say govt’s proposal will do injustice to weaker sections in villages 

HYDERABAD: Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman M Kodandaram, TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy, CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy and TDP MLA R Krishnaiah vehemently opposed state government’s proposal to introduce “indirect election” system to sarpanch posts in Gram Panchayats by amending the existing Panchayat Raj Act. During a round-table meet held here on Saturday, the three leaders said that as the Opposition had successfully prevented the state government from using the recently-formed Farmers Coordination Committees in villages to revive the infamous Patel-Patwari system in rural areas, the government was considering the idea of changing the election process for sarpanches in order to achieve its aim of bringing back the system. 

All the leaders said that the government’s proposal would do grave injustice to weaker sections in villages. They announced that they would ensure that all existing gram panchayats across the State pass resolutions opposing government’s move. Copies of these resolutions will be sent to governor, they added.

Earlier, during the round-table meeting, TPCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy called upon all the opposition parties, people’s organisations and NGOs to launch a mass agitation against the proposed amendments in Panchayat Raj Act by the State government. He said the state government was bringing amendments in PR Act not to empower the local bodies, but to strip them of their powers and funds. He then rejected the proposal of the state government to conduct indirect and party-less elections for Panchayat Raj institutions.

The TPCC chief alleged that chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was crushing the democracy at all levels. He said that the entire government was being run by just four members of a family while all sarpanches, ZPTCs and MPTCs had been reduced to mere figure heads. He also objected to conduct of elections in February and said that the present elected bodies should be allowed to complete their full term till August. He then advised that all Gram Panchayats should pass a resolution on January 28 opposing the proposed amendments in Panchayat Raj Act.

 TJAC chairman Kodandaram said that leaders belonging to weaker sections play a key role in village level administration system. “If elections to sarpanch posts are held in an indirect manner, injustice will be done to weaker sections in terms of empowering them politically. Hence, the government should withdraw its proposal to introduce indirect elections system to sarpanch posts,” he demanded.

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