News Kashmir Exclusive
In dramatic developments for the mainstream polity in the trouble torn state of Jammu and Kashmir the prominent mainstream parties national conference and Peoples Democratic Party have decided to boycott the upcoming local body and panchayat polls. Two days after the profreedom camp in Kashmir called for boycott of the municipal and panchayat elections, mainstream National Conference also decided to stay away from the polls.
The National Conference on Wednesday announced its boycott of the upcoming elections announced by the Governor’s Administration to be held around October-December this year. Pertinently, The party sought clarification from the Central Government about the protection of Article 35A in and outside the courts.
National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah after chairing the party’s core group meeting at its party headquarters at “Nawa-i-Subh” Complex in Srinagar, told reporters that his party won’t contest the upcoming panchayat and municipal elections as the situation was not conducive for the elections. Just before , the NC core group meeting had a detailed discussion about the prevailing situation in the State with particular reference to Article 35A of the Constitution. The meeting felt that any tinkering with Article 35A has disastrous consequences not only for the State but for the entire country.
The core group said that the role of the Central Government and the Governor’s Administration vis-a-vis Article 35A in the Supreme Court clearly goes against the wishes and aspirations of the people of the State.
The party alleged that announcement of municipal and panchayat polls by Governor’s Administration was taken hastily without taking into consideration the prevailing situation created in view of unnecessary attempts to fiddle with Article 35 A. NC vice-president Omar Abdullah in a tweet said, “It is now for the Central government to clarify whether it stands with regard to Art 35A. It is not enough to use panchayat & municipal elections simply to delay proceedings in the court”.
On the otherhand, Jammu and Kashmir’s People’s Democratic Party has also indicated it has reservations about local bodies’ poll in the state a day after its bitter political rival National Conference said it would boycott the elections. The PDP, which ruled the state till recently with the BJP, said the centre’s decision to seek deferment of Supreme Court hearing on Article 35A till after the panchayat elections, smacks of conspiracy.
Speaking to NDTV, former chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that people are expecting mischief after the centre sought that the hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court be deferred.”It is difficult to ignore the public sentiment. There is apprehension that Article 35A may be fiddled with once these elections are over,” said Ms Mufti.
Ms Mufti, who also headed the PDP-BJP government in the state till the BJP pulled off support in June, said the decision of National Conference to boycott elections has made these polls meaningless. “National Conference is the main regional party. What is the credibility of these elections when there is no contest?” she said.
The analysis is that with this decision the mainstream polity seems to be going into a big mess .