Lok Satta

Saturday, 21 July 2012 14:36

Government trampling upon democracy by deferring local body polls: Lok Satta

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The Lok Satta Party said that extension of special officers' rule in mandal praja parishads and zilla parishads for another six months exposes the State Government's scant respect for constitutional provisions and people's interests.

Lok Satta Party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao pointed out in a media statement that the Government has been repeatedly postponing the elections under one pretext or the other to serve the interests of the ruling Congress Party. The ruling party is apparently afraid of conducting elections to local bodies in the wake of the severe drubbing it received in the recent by-elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha.

Mr. Srinivasa Rao said that in the absence of elected representatives, rural people are put to great inconvenience in getting their day-to-day problems addressed by the bureaucracy. People had to bear the brunt of drought-like conditions including drinking water scarcity till recently and withstand the fury of torrential rains now.

Even according to the Andhra Pradesh Minister for Panchayat Raj, the State has forgone nearly Rs.2000 crore of Central assistance legitimately due to it because of failure to hold local body elections on time.

The postponement of elections is anti-democratic and unconstitutional, Mr. Srinivasa Rao said and demanded that the State Government conduct elections without further delay. The Supreme Court in a recent judgment underlined that village panchayats enjoyed a constitutional status and they served as the foundation for democracy in the country. Denying people the right for self-rule is unwarranted.

For a village, the sarpanch and ward members are as essential and important as the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues are to the State. The Chief Minister and his colleagues cannot supplant local elected representatives by undertaking 'praja pathams' or 'Indiramma batas.'