Panchayat, municipal elections as per schedule, says JK Chief Secretary

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said at an ‘awami darbar’ at Kulgam on Monday that the panchayat and municipal body elections would be as per schedule.

“Panchayat polls are on, urban local bodies polls are on. A decision was taken in July. Voter list drafts have been printed and finalized. In few days, actual notification will be issued by the CEO. Panchayat elections will be held around Nov 5. The CEO will notify dates for that…Within one week you will see the entire notification,” he said.

This comes after PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti at the party meeting told reporters that owing to the prevailing situation which was unfavorable for contesting elections, the party would boycott the polls.

She said the government was not keen at defending 35-A and insecurity has crept in the population. “The party therefore urges the government to review its decision to hold polls at this juncture,” she said.

National Conference President and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, at a commemoratory function on Sheikh Abdullah’s death anniversary said that his party would boycott Lok Sabha and assembly elections if the government of India would not end its ambiguous stand on Article 35-A.

“We will not only boycott Panchayat elections but also Lok Sabha & Assembly elections if the Centre doesn’t clear its stand on Article 35A and Article 370,” said Abdullah.

Earlier, the party spokesman, Ruhullah Mehdi, tweeted on Wednesday that the party would not participate in the municipal and panchayat elections until the government of India would ‘clear’ its position regarding 35-A.

Omar Abdullah retweeted it with the comment: “It is now for the central government to clarify where it stands with regard to Art 35-A. It’s not enough to use Panchayat & Municipal elections simply to delay proceedings in court.”

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik during a crucial meeting at Hyderpora urged people to boycott the upcoming municipal elections with the spirit of denying recognition to National Conference, PDP and other mainstream political parties who, they said, are collaborating with Government of India just to “strengthen the roots of occupation” in Jammu and Kashmir.

JRL commended people on their steadfastness and unity in strongly opposing the tinkering with hereditary state subject law being challenged in the Indian Supreme Court by anti Kashmir agencies and organisations. They said people of J&K have always stood up and resisted every move of occupation and subjugation thrust upon them.

The comments come at a time when the Supreme Court of India adjourned the hearing of petitions against Article 35-A in the Constitution to January next year.

This came after Jammu and Kashmir government approached the SC seeking adjournment of the hearing.

In a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court and circulated, M Shoeb Alam, the standing counsel for the state in the apex court, sought adjournment of hearing on five petitions scheduled for Friday, by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

According to Intelligence reports, agencies had warned about the revolt in the police ranks in a written communication to the state government.

People across the political and regional divide have come together to protest against attempts to revoke Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.

Recently, National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval at a book launch on Sardar Vallabhai Patel on Tuesday said that having a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was ‘probably an aberration’ and stressed on the fact that sovereignty can never be compromised.

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