All party meeting: NC, PDP, Cong say no to Panchayat polls till leaders are released
Feb 18: Efforts to convince political
parties to participate in the Panchayat polls suffered a major setback on
Tuesday when Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Conference (NC) and
Congress reiterated their decision to stay away from the election citing
prolonged detention of its leaders.
Election Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar held an all party meeting on Tuesday to
discuss the upcoming election for vacant Panchayat seats in the Union
the representatives of National Conference, Congress and PDP told the CEO to
release the mainstream leaders in order to their participation in the election.
Surinder Chaudhary, who was flanked by Narinder Singh Raina, walked out of the
meeting claiming that they are not allowed to conduct political activities
freely in J&K.
walked out of the meeting, when we realized that Chief Election Officer was
bereft of any agenda. I clearly told him that the meeting was called very late
as two phases of Panchayat elections were already over. We demanded release of
our president,” he said.
said they told the CEO that democracy is nowhere seen on the ground in Jammu
and Kashmir. “Our leaders are detained under Public Safety Act. Only BJP is
being allowed to carry out activities while security and vehicles of rest of
the political leaders have been withdrawn,” he said.
conference leader Ratan Lal Gupta said the party is of the view that the
situation is not conducive for holding elections. “The meeting should have
been called much earlier to know the view of political parties about holding
the polls,” Gupta said.
vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga, who was accompanied by Party Chief
Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, said they raised issues of freeing detained
leaders and allowing parties to conduct political activities.
asked CEO to ensure releasing detained leaders, their free movement and lifting
of restrictions on political leaders, if they want us to participate. Otherwise
the government should defer or postpone elections,” Monga said.