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DDUDF resolute on three tier panchayat elections in Hills

DEEP MILAN PRADHAN
MIRIK : Darjeeling Dooars United Development Foundation is resolute on its demand for holding three tier panchayat elections in the Darjeeling hills. Just a day after hill TMC president Rajen Mukhia said two tire panchayat elections will be conducted after the announcement of LS poll results, DDUDF founder Dr. Mahandra P Lama said the foundation will stay firm on its demand for a three tier panchayat election. The DDUDF today sat for a review meeting in Mirik to discuss the issue. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Dr. Lama said, “Three tier panchayat elections are officially authorized by the constitution. Even the GTA agreement has mentioned a provision for it and respecting the agreement, the government must hold three tire panchayat elections here. If three tier panchayat elections are not held it will be a breach of agreement and we will strongly oppose it.” Dr. Lama said it was the DGHC which brought in two tier panchayat elections in 1992, abandoning the three tier elections, but the constitutional recognition of the DGHC itself has expired now. 

He said DGHC policy must be removed from the constitution and three tier panchayat elections held for multi-facetted development of the hills. The three tier format of panchayat elections is people’s desire, Lama stated. Commenting on the media reports of possible panchayat elections during June-July, Lama said, "The state government is worried that after being elected as MP, we might press for constitutional right of three tier panchayat polls." He also slammed the TMC government saying the latter should not try to gain political mileage by speaking of panchayat elections while the LS elections are going on in the state. Stressing the state government must abide by the GTA agreement, Lama said if the government does not hold three tier panchayat elections the DDUDF will resist it tooth and nail. He also urged the GJM should also speak against the state government's plan to conduct two tier panchayat elections.

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