Rahul Gandhi interacts with J-K Sarpanchs

New Delhi, Feb.17: Around 50 sarpanchs from Jammu and Kashmir met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi at his residence and hailed him for getting 73rd amendment of the Constitution approved by the cabinet in the Kashmir valley.

The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference Shafiq Mir said their struggle for getting the amendment approved has been possible only with the help of Gandhi.

“The 50 sarpanchs from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, who are sitting here, they are the representatives of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference. You (Rahul Gandhi) stood by the organisation which fought for the 73rd amendment in that room on January 27, 2012. That wouldn’t have been possible without your help. We would have never won had you not supported,” said Mir.

Reportedly, the 73rd amendment of the Constitution empowers the Panchayati Raj, a demand that has been pressed upon by Congress party and Gandhi himself.

Earlier this year, the 73rd amendment was included in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj Act of 1989.

Mir also took a dig at Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi saying he will not succeed in the state.

“There is no Modi factor in Jammu and Kashmir, no other factor is going to work there. Jammu and Kashmir developed its relationship with India because of Congress. They believed in Jawaharlal Nehru and the people of Jammu and Kashmir have faith in the Congress party, no other factor is going to work in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

In fact, Mir claimed that the name of Rahul Gandhi will be remembered as long as village panchayats exist in the province.

Gandhi thanked the village council leaders for their gratitude and announced that they deserve more power than they have.

“Please do not think that the thing is over with the approval of the 73rd amendment; no, I want to empower you within the party as well. You may have noticed that we have chosen candidates in a new manner for 15 and 16 Lok Sabha seats. If you see the list of who chooses the candidates, then in that list there is the name of five village council leaders. We want you to have power within the party as well,” he said.

The 73rd amendment will provide decision making, autonomy and financial powers to village councils. It also provides reservation for Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes. (ANI)