CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Governor, S.S. Ray, reiterated his resolve to bring back the democratic process in the state but added that elections to the PanChayats will be held only when we are certain that there will be no serious disturbance or trouble. Addressing the press conference, the Governor said that the government would not act irresponsibly and that is why he was not specifying any date now.
He said the governments had prepared the notification for Panchayat elections and it was duly signed but it was withheld. Ray said that Assembly, Lok Sabha and Gurdwara electoral in Punjab would be held after the Panchayat elections.
He said President’s rule could not and must not last longer as it was an exception. He charged vested interests for opposing the elections and said they were opposed to power being transferred to villagers and were trying to oppose elections by raising the bogey of violence. He refused to identify. The Panchayat elections have been opposed by the Akali Dal, the two communist parties and the BJP till the restoration of normalcy. He said that the issue of Panchayat elections had cropped up at a meeting held with the Deputy Commissioners and District Police Chiefs and the officers were unanimously of the view that there would be no difficulty in holding the elections with he availability of sufficient number of security personnel. He said Assembly elections were a political issue and Punjab was not yet prepared for political elections. He clarified that the Panchayat elections in the Union Territory of Chandigarh would be held along with the Punjab panchayat election, The Governor said that to make Panchayats meaningful and effective and also to enable the representatives of rural people to fashion their future, it was necessary to give more administrative and financial power at all levels from grain panchayats to the Zila Parishads.
Referring to the situation in Punjab, Ray said that it had undergone a change as there were no objectionable posters, no bhog ceremonies and no playing of tapes. He said there was genuine desire for peace. He reiterated government’s determination to check corruption and harassment. Referring to Talwanda’s statement that militants had a meeting with him (Ray), the Governor said let Mr. Talwandi produce evidence.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 6, 1989