No funds if rural polls not on time, Jairam warns

Union minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh on Sunday warned Trinamul Congress government that the Centre will not release grants for rural development if the panchayat polls were not held on time.
Meanwhile, state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee took a dig at the state election commission over the ongoing panchayat election impasse. He said that the commission was misusing the government exchequer to fight the case against them. He also said that the state government was flexible in conducting the panchayat polls.
Speaking at a party programme at Matigara in Siliguri, Mr Ramesh said that the state government was dithering and did not want to hold the election. He said, “The state government is unnecessarily postponing the election as they are afraid that the results might not go in their favour.”
The minister warned, “If the panchayats are not elected on time then the Centre would not release the grant of `5,000 crores to `6,000 crores for rural development under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). This would in turn hinder the development.”
Significantly, at a programme in Kolkata, the state panchayat minister lambasted the state election commission and accused that the commission was misusing state government’s fund by filing a case against them. “At a time when the state government is reeling under financial constraints, the state election commission is misusing government’s money,” he said. The minister even said that the state government was always cooperative with the commission.

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