‘Amid killings and CASOs, how can elections be held’
Srinagar: Hitting back at Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh for appealing them to participate in the Municipal and Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the three top regional mainstream political parties National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) said “Delhi has not listened to our appeal and why should we listen to appeal of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh when a decision to hold Municipal and Panchayat elections has been taken without our consent and knowing our reservations about Article 35-A and vulnerable security scenario in the state.”
National Conference (NC) General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said “We demanded a clear cut clarification on Article 35-A which is our constitutional right but New Delhi turned a deaf ear to our demand and reservations about the security scenario in the State. The elections are being held when Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) and Operation All Out is continuing unabated. Question arises that amid killings how can elections be held in such a vulnerable security scenario amid brewing resentment among people on Central Governments objectionable stand over Article 35-A.”
Responding to Singh’s appeal the chief Spokesman PDP Rafi Ahmad Mir said, “We wanted a clarification of the Central Government’s stand on Article 35-A and expressed our reservation on conduct of elections in the present hostile security environment. They should have listened patiently to our demands and we had also demanded an all party meet to evolve a consensus over the issues and the suitability of time and atmosphere for elections. They have not considered our suggestions and we have also taken a decision keeping in view the public outrage against the petitions filed in the Supreme Court against Article 35-A and the present hostile security scenario in the state.”
PDF chairman and MLA Khan Sahib Hakim Mohammad Yaseen said, “Home Minister is appealing us when the government has already announced poll schedule for Municipal and Panchayat elections without our consent. The decision to hold elections without listening to our demands on Article 35-A and present security scenario is murder of democracy and shows brute arrogance of the government. Saddened to hear champions of democracy beating drums of democracy without giving any due regard and respect to the largest political parties in the state. We have taken a decision and won’t listen to any appeal from any quarter.”
Both the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, the two biggest regional political outfits have decided to boycott the elections as they have asked the Government of India to clear its stand on the issue of Article 35-A.
On Monday, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also decided not to participate in the polls keeping in view the prevailing situation in the valley.
State Secretary CPI(M) Ghulam Nabi Malik, in a statement said that despite majority of mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir deciding not to participate in these polls shows the arrogance of the BJP-led Central Government.
The Joint Resistance Leaders (JRL) while reiterating their call of ULB, Panchayat polls said that it is a “political gimmick to hoodwink international community”.
(With inputs from KNS)