While ruling coalition partners are still devising a strategy to win the Legislative Council elections, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today kickstarted an aggressive campaign from Landar, a remote area of Udhampur district, by addressing a convention of sarpanches and panches.

Although it was a public meeting, party leadership has directed the district unit of the PDP to ensure maximum participation of panchayat members in the gathering to start the campaign.

The party feels there is brewing resentment among panchayat members against the delay tactics of the state government to empower the Panchayati Raj Institutions. Mehbooba spoke about the issue of erosion of the sanctity of such institutions. She said holding of the Legislative Council elections from the panchayat quota was not so important.

“The real issue is the empowerment of panchayats but the government is particular about electing the four Legislative Council members from the panchayat quota,” she said and added that during the last four years the National Conference-Congress regime had systematically eroded the sanctity of all democratic institutions.

As a good number of panchayat members were present in the meeting today, Mehbooba said the decision to hold the elections to the Legislative Council seats had exposed the regime which was not interested in strengthening the grass-roots level democratic institutions. She said during the last one and a half year, the regime had been befooling the panchayat members in the name of delegating powers to them.

Mehbooba called upon the panchayat members to give a befitting reply to the ruling coalition in the Legislative Council elections.

Sources in the PDP said the party had decided to utilise all its resources to give a tough fight to the ruling coalition in the elections. Mehbooba has taken charge of mobilising support in favour of party candidates.

After completing the tour of Udhampur and Reasi districts, Mehbooba would conduct an extensive tour of the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri where she would address a series of meetings of the panchayat members. Mehbooba will address meetings of panchayat members at Reasi and Krimchi tomorrow.

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