The Congress wants early holding of elections for the remaining two tiers of the panchayati raj system at the earliest, said Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) in-charge Ambica Soni on Friday.
"The elections for Block Developmental Council (BDC) and District
Developmental Council (DDC) should be held at earliest for democratising grassroots institutions," she added.
On whether the Congress would align with National Conference (NC) in the upcoming parliamentary and assembly elections, Soni said, "We have successfully run the coalition government (Congress and NC) for the last five years. Moreover, I will meet party workers on Friday and Saturday."
The Congress' main agenda in Jammu and Kashmir is to empower people for self-governance, she said.
The JKPCC in-charge said people can be only be fully empowered by incorporating certain amendments in the State Panchyati Raj Act. "The amendments, including reservation for SC/ST communities and women, in the State Panchyati Raj Act are needed," she said.
The Congress believes that people should be empowered and they should have financial powers, Soni said, adding that honorarium should be given to panchayat members and in rural areas people should be able to take decisions on their own.
She arrived in Jammu on Friday to take part in a convention of PCC members of the Jammu province on Saturday.
This is her maiden visit to the state after taking over as the JKPCC in charge.
Meanwhile, JKPCC president Saifuddin Soz who arrived along with Ambika Soni also insisted that, "The Congress wants panchayats fully empowered. The elections to BDCs and DDCs will be held in the shortest possible time."
Soz said, "The Congress is expanding in Jammu and Kashmir. We have gained in elections for the third LAHDC Kargil. Last time we had three seats, this time 10 of our members had won."
On the alliance with the NC in upcoming elections, Soz said, "So far, no decision has been taken whether the party will fight polls on its own or will align with the NC. The decision will be taken keeping in view the party's interest."
He added that 225 delegates will take part in Saturday's convention.
"The problems of refugees, displaced persons, ex-servicemen and other such sections will be discussed in the convention," he added.