Monday, February 18, 2013

Dr. JP welcomes SC verdict and calls for immediate elections to local bodies

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today whole-heartedly welcomed the Supreme Court verdict permitting elections to local bodies as per existing reservations and demanded that the State Government conduct the elections without further delay.

Addressing a media meet, Dr. JP said that local body elections instead of being held on schedule like elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha have been postponed repeatedly under some pretext or the other. Courts too had to share the blame for postponement of elections in violation of 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution.

Dr. JP demanded that the State Government empower the Election Commission decide on reservations, instead of retaining the powers for itself.

Besides conducting elections, the State Government should make a per capita grant of about Rs.2000 to village panchayats and municipal wards or divisions so that people at the grass root level could address their problems. If the State Cannot straightway part with 10 percent of its annual budget of Rs.1,60,000 crore this year, it could at least part with five percent.

Dr. JP wanted the ensuing Parliament's budget session to pass the Lokpal Bill. He regretted that certain sections had scuttled the move to include appointment of Lokayuktas in States as part of the Bill. He wanted the State Government to adopt a Bill providing for appointment of a strong and independent Lokayukta in the State on the lines of the Lokpal at the national level. He was sorry that the draft Bill he had submitted to all the parties in the Assembly and the Speaker has not seen the light of the day.

Dr. JP wanted Parliament to also adopt the Service Guarantee Bill which the Lok Satta Party had prepared at the request of the Parliamentary Committee.

Dr. JP disclosed that he would be meeting the Vice President of India and leaders of different political parties during his visit to New Delhi tomorrow on electoral reforms. This is a follow-up to the meeting he had had with President Pranab Mukherjee last month in New Delhi.

Mr. J. Iramamurthy, Lok Satta Vice-President and Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, General Secretary, shared the dais with Dr. JP.