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All-party legislative meet to discuss state panchayat elections

ITANAGAR, FEB 18:

An all-party legislative meet has been convened on Wednesday to discuss whether to conduct the State Panchayat elections based on party lines or not, informed Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday.

Addressing the government officials during the State Level Workshop on Pre-Panchayat Election Awareness Campaign on the topic Leadership Incubation through Panchayati Raj System here at the Dorjee Khandu auditorium of the State Legislative Assembly, Khandu said that the Panchayati Raj system needs to have the most deserving persons, irrespective of which party he or she belongs to or not.

He said only when eligible and deserving candidates win, real development would start from the ground and democracy in its true sense would prevail.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister informed that the pending elections to the local bodies would be held soon for which the State Election Commission is working overtime and urged the officials, who would be directly involved, to equip themselves with the process minutely for its successful conduction.

He said that as the erstwhile three-tier system of the Panchayati Raj has been changed to a two-tier system, officials conducting its election for the first time need to have detailed knowledge of the system so that they can go back to their respective places of duty and aware the villagers.

Elections for the first would be conducted for only Gram Sabha and Zilla Parishad. Therefore, it is mandatory that our officials are well equipped with the system and the process, he said.

Khandu asserted that the change was long pending and inevitable after Arunachal Pradesh became a full-fledged state in 1987.

He requested the officials to create awareness on the importance of local bodies so that villagers have a clear mindset on whom to elect as their representatives. He expressed optimism that deserving candidates would become members for a robust PR system and all-round development of rural areas of the state.

Regretting that in all these years the government couldn t devolve all the 29 functions to the Panchayati Raj members as enshrined in the Constitution, Khandu assured that in the coming days these would be devolved.

Arunachal Pradesh, with its vast resources, has the potential to develop on all fronts even without central or external aids. We only need to have the will and eligible members in governance. I hope this PR elections would be a new beginning for us in this direction, the Chief Minister said.

The workshop is being jointly organized by the State Institute of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Arunachal Pradesh Rural Livelihood Mission.

Also present were Panchayati Raj Minister Bamang Felix, Health Minister Alo Libang and several legislators.

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