Jammu And Kashmir Local Polls May Be Moved After Parties Boycott: Sources

Time & Us
Last Updated: September 12, 2018 at 11:07 am

Sources said the Centre wants to give time to the mainstream parties to review their decision to boycott the elections

PDP and National Conference had announced boycott of the local polls

Formal decision likely to be taken by State Advisory Council

No change in Panchayat polls scheduled to be held in November-December

Srinagar: The local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir scheduled to be held in the first week of October is likely to be deferred, sources told NDTV. The decision has come after two major regional parties, the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP announced boycott of the local body elections until the Centre makes its position clear on safeguarding Article 35A, a constitutional provision that defines “permanent residents” of the state. Sources said the elections for urban local bodies will be deferred to January.
A formal decision is likely to be taken by the State Advisory Council (SAC) headed by Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik today.

For now, there will be no change in the Panchayat elections scheduled to be held in November and December.

Jammu and Kashmir is under the Governor’s Rule after the BJP pulled out of PDP-led government in June.

Sources say the Centre wants to give time to the mainstream parties to review their decision to boycott the elections, a move seen as defeating the very purpose of holding the elections. The boycott by the two major parties in Jammu and Kashmir is seen as a watershed development in the state’s political landscape because it’s the first time when the parties have found a common cause with separatists’ idea of boycotting elections.

The BJP has said that it will contest these elections and termed the National Conference and the PDP as opportunistic parties for boycotting polls. BJP general secretary and in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir Ram Madhav met with Governor Malik yesterday and also held meetings with party office bearers in Srinagar.

The deferring of elections is seen as major victory for the regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir. Last week, Farooq Abdullah announced the the National Conference’s boycott of local elections and even threatened to stay away from the assembly and the general elections. The PDP followed suit and announced a boycott on Monday.

Independent legislator Engineer Rashid was the first mainstream politician to call for a boycott.

The parties have linked their participation in these elections with New Delhi’s stand on safeguarding Article 35A. The Article passed through a Presidential order in 1954 has been challenged before the Supreme Court. The top court deferred the hearing to January after the Centre sought to citing holding of panchayat and civic elections in the state.

Sources said after deferring the civic body polls, the administration wants to reach out to regional parties to find a way out so that elections for local governance and electoral process don’t become casualties.