Rahul tells Omar to do more for empowerment of panchayats in Jammu
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In their first public display of differences over empowerment of panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday maintained that maximum powers have been devolved while Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi urged him to do more.
The assertions by leaders of the ruling coalition partners National Conference(NC) and Congress came against the backdrop of some drama witnessed during Rahul's address in Jammu yesterday when a protesting sarpanch disrupted his speech saying that though the Centre did help them, there was no support from the Omar Abdullah government.
Omar while referring to the incident said its aim seemed to be belittling the NC-Congress coalition government.
"I want to clear few things as there are attempts being made at creating misunderstandings. The sarpanch was from an opposition party, Panthers Party. He is a close relative of the party chairman. How did he come into your (Rahul's)
function because everyone knew him and everyone knows what kind of relation Panthers party has with this government.
"Whether the objective of his presence there was to disrupt your function or belittle this government, I cannot be sure of that. I feel it was to belittle this government," the Chief Minister said at a function to inaugurate a cold storage unit in Lassipora, 55 km from Srinagar.
Omar said he was "tired" of hearing the oft-repeated claim that the panchayats in the state have not been empowered.
"As much as we could have given the powers to Halqa (panchayat) level, we have done that. Powers of 14 departments have been transferred to the panchs and sarpanchs.
The problem is that we gauge the powers by money only. Even my ministers complain that they cannot make announcements about projects because of lack of financial powers. The panchs and sarpanchs have same complaints," he said.
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