ITANAGAR, Jul 21: Two days after the Gauhati High Court directed the government of Arunachal Pradesh to conduct the panchayat election by December 2018, the Arunachal Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) on Saturday welcomed the court’s decision, terming it “historic and in the interest of the people of the state.”
The term of the then three-tier panchayat bodies had expired on 31 May, but the state government delayed the polls, citing the change in the structure of the panchayati raj system from three-tier to two-tier as the reason behind the decision.
The HC’s directive came in the wake of a writ petition filed by former Kurung Kumey ZPC Sangha Tagik in its Itanagar permanent bench, calling for the court’s intervention in the matter of the delay in conducting the poll.
The HC in its judgment said: “A writ of mandamus is hereby issued to avert a constitutional crisis in the state, directing the government of Arunachal Pradesh to suitably revise its action plan, so as to complete the exercise by 30.11. 2018 and thereafter, the State Election Commission (SEC) shall start its exercise for holding the general election to the panchayats.”
Addressing a press conference, APYC spokesperson Kalley Rijiju lauded the court’s decision and said, “The election to the panchayat bodies should have been held in May but the BJP-led state government deliberately delayed it for their own reasons.”
Describing the court’s decision as a “victory for the people of Arunachal Pradesh,” Rijiju exuded hope that the SEC would now conduct the election on time, as per the HC’s directive.
Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) vice-president Minkir Lollen also welcomed the court’s decision. He thanked the governor as well as Tagik for it.
Meanwhile, expressing serious concern over growing crimes against women and children in the state, Lollen criticized the BJP-led state government for “not doing anything to safeguard the women and children as reports of rapes and murders are coming with each passing day.”
The law and order situation has been rapidly deteriorating ever since the BJP government came to power, Lollen said, adding that the government should deliver on the promises it made to the people.
The APCC also alleged that the Pema Khandu-led BJP government “has let down the constitution of the country by giving lame excuses like weather as the reason for postponing the rural polls.”
By directing the state government to conduct the polls by December, it said, the high court has restored the panchayati raj institution in the state.