Owais Gul

Panchayat by-polls: Political parties remain indecisive on participation

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Srinagar: Two days after the Election Commission (EC) announced dates for Panchayat by-polls for vacant seats, indecisiveness is looming large among the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir over their participation in the election process.
Most of the parties here said that they are unable to take any decision regarding their participation in the polls, saying that their leadership including the party presidents are under detention. Imran Nabi Dar, spokesman of National Conference (NC) said that unlike the previous elections, the polls are being held on party basis, adding that “at the same time, our leaderships including party president Dr. Farooq Abdullah, vice president Omar Abdullah and General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar are booked under Public Safety Act (PSA). How can we (NC) be able to sign the nomination papers of any candidate?”
He termed it as a deliberate attempt to keep NC away from electoral politics.
“The party is not boycotting the polls, but the only thing that they will not be able to file nomination papers without the signatures of party leadership,” he added. Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC), Vice President and former Member of Legislative Council (MLC), Ghulam Nabi Monga said that a single party in Jammu and Kashmir have been provided every facility including security and free passage while the other parties have been ignored.
“Election Commission should take a note of it to ensure the participation of other parties in the forthcoming by-polls,” he said. However, he said that the party is going to hold a meeting viz-a-viz by-poll within two or three days and will take a decision in this regard accordingly.
PDP spokesman and former legislator Firdous Tak said that they are not able to take any decision regarding the Panchayat by-elections as most of the leaders who are part of Political Affairs Committee (PAC), which take policy decision are behind bars and booked under PSA.
“We are not even in position to discuss the current situation and Panchayat polls,” he said.
Asked whether the party will boycott the polls again, the PDP leader said whether the party will boycott or participate, the decision has to be taken by PAC.
Meanwhile, CPI (M) in a statement issued here said that political situation in Jammu and Kashmir was not conducive for holding by-elections for Panchayats, saying that at a time when most of the political leaders are under detention or their movements have been curtailed, such exercise will not yield the desired results.
CPI (M) Secretary G N Malik said that political leaders, including three former chief ministers, are either under detention or their activities are curtailed since August 5 when the Central government took a unilateral decision to revoke J&K’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.
The government should have taken into consideration the ground realities before announcing the schedule for the Panchayat by-polls, he said.
Earlier on Thursday, the Election Commission (EC) announced that by-elections for over 12500 vacant Panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be conducted from March 5 to March 20.
Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar while addressing media persons in Jammu had said that elections for the vacant 12,565 Panchayat seats will be held in eight phases.
“The first phase of polling will take place on March 5, while the second phase is scheduled for March 7. The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eight phases of voting will take place on March 9, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 respectively,” he said. (KNO)


Owais Gul

Owais Gul is a reporter and covers all issues people face in daily lives and can be contacted at owais2@kashmirvision.in
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