Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said he will step down if the opposition proves the allegations that his National Conference (NC) is using money to buy the votes of Panches and Sarpanches for the forthcoming Legislative Council polls.
"I swear before God that I will resign if they (opposition PDP) can even bring one Panchayat member who has been paid by NC to vote for our candidates," Omar said while addressing Panches and Sarpanches in Ganderbal, his home constituency, in central Kashmir.
He said that NC believed in the power of people and did not need money to buy their support.
The chief minister accused PDP of luring Panchayat members through various tactics and money power, ahead of polls to four seats of Legislative Council from Panchayat quota scheduled for next month.
"PDP leadership is luring Panchayat members through various tactics and money power.
Women Panchayat members are reportedly being presented make-up kits to tempt them to vote for PDP candidates," Abdullah said.
He alleged that the PDP leadership was using "undemocratic, illegal and enticing devises" to gain support of Panches and Sarpanches, which would prove suicidal for it.
"They (PDP leaders) should understand that the Panchayat members are reputed social activists of high stature and honesty, and cannot be drawn in through such mundane and disgraceful methods," he said.
He said Sarpanches and Panches would teach PDP a befitting lesson for considering them "saleable".
Seeking support of the Panches and Sarpanches in the upcoming polls, Abdullah said voting in favour of NC-Congress candidates is in fact voting to strengthen Panchayat Raj system in the state.
"NC-Congress coalition represents the voice of people of Jammu and Kashmir and rendering public service equitably and holistically is political agenda of both parties.
"The coalition government created Panchayats to shift the centre of power from secretariat to grass roots level and help involvement of public representatives at Panchayat level to participate in policy formulation and implementation of development schemes in accordance with public requirements," he said.
Abdullah said in a state like Jammu and Kashmir, where 70 per cent population resides in villages, comprehensive development is attainable through Panchayats only.
"This is our belief and we held elections to Panchayats after a gap of over 30 years," he said.