Elections to local bodies to be held soon: CM

ITANAGAR, Feb 18: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Tuesday informed that elections to the local bodies would be held soon “and the state election commission is working overtime for its smooth conduct.”
Addressing a state-level workshop for government officials, themed ‘Leadership incubation through panchayati raj system’, at the legislative assembly here, Khandu urged the officials who would be directly involved in the election process to “equip themselves with the process minutely for its successful conduction.”
The workshop was organized jointly by the State Institute of Rural Development, the panchayati raj department, the rural development department, and the Arunachal State Rural Livelihoods Mission.
The CM said that, as the erstwhile three-tier system of the panchayati raj has been changed to a two-tier system, the officials conducting such an election for the first time need to have detailed knowledge of the system, so that they may return to their places of duty and generate awareness among the villagers.
He said the change was “long pending and inevitable” after Arunachal became a full-fledged state in 1987.
“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,” Khandu said.
The CM requested the officials to create awareness on the importance of local bodies, so that the villagers may make informed decision as to whom to elect as their representatives.
Khandu said an all-party meeting has been convened on Wednesday to discuss “whether to conduct this election based on party or not.”
“Our vision is clear. We need to have the most deserving persons in our PR system, irrespective of which party he or she belongs to or not,” he said.
Expressing regret that the government could not devolve all the 29 functions to the PR members in all these years, he gave assurance that these would be devolved in the coming days.
“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 election will be a new beginning for us in this direction,” he said.
Panchayati Raj Minister Bamang Felix advised the officials to “ensure that planning for awareness campaigns, as well as development planning post the panchayat elections, is done with care to ensure that the requirements of the poor persons are highlighted in the best possible manner.”
He said the two-tier PR system would be more efficient and function more professionally.
PR Secretary Govind Jaiswal asked the officials to adhere to the timeline with regard to generating awareness among the voters before the forthcoming PR elections.
Health Minister Alo Libang and several legislators were also present at the meeting. (CM’s PR Cell)