Srinagar: PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Saturday underlined the need for showing restraint while debating on panchayat-related issues in the state, especially on empowerment and security of local village representatives.
Addressing a party meeting in Kulgam district, Sayeed said it was "unfair" and "unwise" to make panchayats an issue of controversy in the state, given the role they can play in bridging the "democracy deficit" the state has faced.
"Linking the Panchayat elections to the larger Kashmir issue was neither desirable nor feasible," he said.
Sayeed alleged that the government failed to ensure democratisation of power upto the grassroots level by missing the "golden" opportunity that came in the form of panchayat polls held in the state after a long time.
"The government failed to seize this opportunity and tried to use elected village representatives as propaganda tool and ready-made audience for their political meetings instead of empowering them to carry out development tasks in accordance with the spirit of Panchayati Raj," he said.
Expressing concern over the security scenario, Sayeed said instead of providing a conducive environment and required powers to panchayats, the government was talking in terms of unified command and security forces domination.
Sayeed also accused the government of "delaying" the block council elections, and said the polls should have been conducted within one month of the panchayat elections.