Former Haryana Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda said Wednesday that the party will not contest upcoming panchayat polls in the state on party symbol. Haryana State Election Commission had earlier announced that the general elections of Panchayati Raj Institutions will be held in a single phase across the state in September this year. Earlier, the polls for 46 municipalities in Haryana had taken place in June this year.  The Congress had not contested civic body polls on party symbol.
After a meeting of Congress Legislature Party (CLP), Hooda alleged the state government deliberately postponed the panchayat elections. “Due to this, the development of villages came to a standstill and there was a lot of corruption in the absence of panchayat representatives,” claimed.
The CLP demanded the benefit of reservation for backward castes (BCs) in the upcoming panchayat elections and an amendment in the land Act keeling in view the April judgment of Supreme Court over shamlat land. Bhupinder Singh Hooda said: “The rights of backward classes should be ensured in the panchayat polls as a delay of two years has already taken place in holding the polls. BCs should be given the benefit of reservation by finalising the report of the recently constituted Backward Classes Commission.”.
According to the government, the panel set up in July this year will study the social, educational and economic conditions of the backward classes, and their representation and participation in the government as well as in government schemes, especially students. As many as 78 groups fall in the Backward Castes (BC) category in Haryana, with the panel likely to certify at least 72 falling in the group A or most backward category among them, paying the way for reservation for them in the civic body and panchayat polls.
Hooda said issues arising out of the Supreme Court’s decision on shamlat land were also discussed in detail in the meeting of the legislature party. In fact, the apex court order freeing shamlat deh or common land in villages in Haryana from all litigation is fast becoming a political issue in the state. With the Opposition claiming to be speaking up for the farmers against an insensitive government, the BJP-JJP Ministry is treading carefully on the matter.
Bhupinder Singh Hooda alleged: “The Haryana government did not defend the Jai Singh Vs State case properly. If the government had advocated properly, the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court would have been different.”
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The former chief minister further said: “Now the government has issued an order to execute the mutation of such land holdings in favour of the panchayats. This decision has led to an atmosphere of panic in the village because people have been living on pieces of land for several years and many have even sold the land further and hence it would not be right to evict them. The government should call a special session of the Assembly and make changes in the land consolidation Act.”
In the CLP meeting, Congress’s upcoming programmes have also been finalised. Hooda said: “It has been decided to postpone the Vipaksh Aapke Samaksh’ programme to be held in Yamunanagar on August 28. It will now be on September 11 as the Congress is going to hold a Halla Bol rally against inflation in Delhi on August 28. Haryana will have a strong participation in this. Before the rally, a public awareness campaign will be launched against inflation across the state. Meanwhile, on August 20, the birth anniversary of the late Rajiv Gandhi will be celebrated.”
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