Cong Fails To Fulfill Poll Promises

Cong Fails To Fulfill Poll Promises

14 January 2012
Rising Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: The State unit of Congress may have taken an active part in presenting the three-year report card of the ruling dispensation to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, but the party has nothing to show for its 2008 manifesto. Congress blames “coalition compulsions” for not fulfilling the manifesto promises. “We don’t have to forget that people of Jammu and Kashmir gave us a fractured mandate in 2008. We also need not to forget that we are in a coalition,” said the senior Congress leader and MLC, Ravinder Sharma. The party fought elections on four major things – devolution of powers with the incorporation of 73rd amendment in the Panchayat Raj Act, result-oriented dialogue, restructuring the constitution to form the federal set up and introduction of a bill seeking constitution of delimitation commission. “If elected to power, the party will introduce a bill in the new legislative assembly seeking constitution of delimitation commission for delimiting the Assembly constituencies as per the law,” reads the Congress manifesto. It further reads the party, if elected to power, will seek amendment to the Panchayat Raj Act by incorporation of 73rd amendment. “The party will restructure the constitution of the State into a federal set up by setting up regional councils for JK,” the manifesto reads. Gaining majority in Jammu in 2008 elections, the party has used its full strength to maintain the momentum rather than working to fulfill the promises it made to the people in its manifesto. “It is not that we haven’t made any forward movement towards our promises. The fact is that we have been pursuing our agenda, but have not been able to push it owing to the fact that we are in a coalition,” Sharma said. Due to the coalition compulsions, he said, they did not come up to the expectations of people the way they were supposed to. “Had we won the majority in 2008, things would have been altogether different,” Sharma said. A senior Congress minister, wishing not to be quoted by name, said the party was not satisfied with the present Pachayati Raj in the state and that incorporating 73rd amendment was inevitable. “Knowing the fact that our partner (NC) has been vociferously opposing the move, we will rake up the issue soon,” he said, adding that there was a need to evolve consensus over the issue. He said Congress was eyeing at least 40 seats in Jammu and at least 20 in Kashmir in the 2014 elections. MLC Sharma, however, said the party was mulling to discuss the issue of setting up delimitation commission with its alliance partner. “Let me tell you honestly that putting the delimitation on a halt is a grave injustice with the people of J&K. You can’t have the same number of seats for a longer period,” Sharma said. On why no efforts were made by the State unit of Congress to promote the result-oriented dialogue as promised in its manifesto, Sharma said the party has made a “remarkable progress” in promoting dialogue. “Dialogue had been on for the last three years in the form of Quite Diplomacy, appointment of interlocutors and at times talks between India and Pakistan. We have acted as facilitators,” he said. Senior Congress leader and vice president, G N Monga said the party will work tirelessly in the next three years to press for the promises made to the people. “We will leave no stone unturned to fulfill commitment made to the people,” he said, adding that entire Jammu was pro-Congress while the party has managed a good support base in Kashmir as well.