Srinagar, Oct 9: On the last day of filing nomination papers, Congress decided to boycott the Block Development Council (BDC) polls citing ongoing clampdown in Kashmir.
Wednesday was the last day for filing nomination papers in the BDC elections which is scheduled to be held on October 24.
Chief spokesperson of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee Ravinder Sharma told The Kashmir Monitor that there is no fun in contesting BDC polls when there is a clampdown in Kashmir and political leaders are behind bars
Asked whether Congress’ decision would give a cakewalk to the BJP, he replied: “We were forced to take this decision. Few of our candidates, who have filed the nomination papers, will now withdraw the same.”
A source said that decision was taken after the state leadership got nod from Congress high command. “It was finally decided to stay out of the BDC elections,” he said.
The BDC elections will be conducted on October 24. Out of 316 BDCs, 148 are in Jammu, 137 in Kashmir, and 31 in Ladakh. There are 39592 Sarpanchs and Panches, who can contest for the post of BDC chairpersons.
The elections are being held at a time when 61 per cent of Panch and Sarpanch berths are lying vacant across the valley. Official data reveal that 19852 Panches and Sarpanches have to elect the chairpersons in 137 blocks of the valley. However only 7528 Panches and Sarpanch seats have been elected and rest of 12054 seats are lying vacant.
Bharatiya Janata Party is the only party, which has been carrying election related activities both in Kashmir and Jammu.
The multiphase Panchayat elections were held on nonparty bass in November-December last year.
However, the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party had boycotted the polls in protest against the Centre’s move to abrogate Article 35A. Both these parties have now decided to stay away from BDC polls too.
All Jammu Kashmir Panchayat Association, (AJKPA) an apex body of elected Panches and Sarpanches has decided not to align with any political party and contest forthcoming BDC elections as independents.
“How is it viable to fight the second tier of Panchayat polls on party basis when the first tier was contested on non-party lines? The institution of Panchayati Raj is being politicized. There is a political motive behind the decision so that a particular political reaps benefits,” said Shafiq Mir chairman AJKPA.
JD(U) to field 61 candidates
Srinagar, Oct 9: Janata Dal United (JDU) Wednesday announced that it would contest on 61 seats in the upcoming BDC polls.
The party state president GM Shaheen, as per news agency Kashmir News Trust, said that it has fielded 61 candidates who will submit their forms in coming days.
Shaheen, as per the news agency, said that out of 61 candidates, over 20 are from Kashmir.
He said that the party was unable to communicate with its cadres mostly Sarpanchs and Panchs due to communication blockade.
“We had requested Government to at least restore the mobile service in Jammu and Kashmir so that we could communicate with our cadres and candidates. We couldn’t field candidates in every block after government didn’t restore cellular services,” Shaheen said.
Polling on 310 out of the 316 blocks in Jammu and Kashmir would be held on October 24 from 9 am to 1 pm. The results would be declared the same day. These elections will be completed before the state of Jammu and Kashmir is formally declared a union territory on October 31. (KNT)