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Civic polls to see contest between BJP, Congress amid NC, PDP boycott

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Oct 5: The upcoming urban local body and municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir will see a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress, with major regional  political parties — the NC and the PDP — boycotting the election.

The polls are scheduled to begin from October 8.

The National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have boycotted the elections over the legal challenge to the Constitution’s Article 35A the Supreme Court.

 

The article accords special rights and privileges to the state’s citizens and bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir from acquiring any immovable property in the state.

As many as 3,372 candidates have filed their nominations for the four-phased urban local body (ULB) and municipal elections, out of which 192 candidates were elected unopposed, and 2,688 are in fray till the third phase of the polls.

Friday is the last day of withdrawal of nomination. There are 8, 16,97,291 voters in the 1,145 wards of the state.

Undeterred by the threats from militants and poll boycott by the NC and PDP, as many as 982 candidates have filed their nomination and 179 were declared elected uncontested from the Kashmir region.

The Congress and the BJP, the candidates of which are in the thick of campaigning, particularly in the Jammu region, said the contest would be a direct one between the two national parties.

“It is a direct contest between the BJP and us as the NC and the PDP have kept away from the democratic exercise.

“Our candidates are campaigning and we are hopeful of a majority victory,” Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Gulam Ahmed Mir told PTI.

Mir, who is leading the party’s campaign, said the Congress had fielded over 440 candidates in the polls and over 100 of them were declared elected uncontested.

“Besides, development and civic issues, our party is asking people to keep the BJP, which is a communal party, away from the ruling setup of J&K and to safeguard special status of the state,” he said.

The BJP has failed on the security and development fronts, and “we will also bring up the issue of Article 35A”, the Congress’s state unit said.

BJP general secretary (Organisation), who is leading the party in Kashmir, also said it is a direct contest between the two national parties as the NC and the PDP are boycotting the polls.

“We have field over 850 candidates and several of our candidates have won uncontested, mostly in Kashmir,” Koul told PTI.

The party has promised in its manifesto proper sanitation, drainage and garbage handling, and tackling mosquito menace among others, he said.

Recreational clubs will be opened in every ward for senior citizens and getting building permission for commercial and residential areas will be made hassle-free, he said.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) has fielded candidates in all 75 wards of the Jammu Municipal Corporation for the polls.

Harsh Dev Singh, chairman, JKNPP, said they will fight against the BJP and the Congress, and expose their failures.

He accused the two national parties of “marginalising” the Jammu region. “The BJP and the Congress can’t be allowed to go unchallenged the Panthers party have put up a brave front against the opportunist leaders and all political parties which have betrayed Jammu. We will defeat them”, Singh said.

Campaigning, including door-to-door campaign, ward meetings and road shows, has picked up pace in state’s the Jammu region, particularly in Jammu, as the first phase of the polls is scheduled from October 8.

Hoardings have been put up across the Jammu region and vehicles fitted with public address systems and banners have been deployed by parties to garner support.

Candidates are also distributing pamphlets to tell voters about their party manifestoes.

Out of total 1,145 wards of municipality and local bodies, 90 wards have been reserved for scheduled castes and 38 for scheduled tribes, a poll official said.

He said 322 wards have been reserved for women belonging to the open category, he said.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has highest number of 6,63,775 electors with 74 wards, he said.

The first phase of polling will be undertaken on October 8, followed by second phase on October 10, third on October 13 and fourth and final on October 16, the official said.

The counting of the votes will be taken up on October 20, he said.

There is threat of the militants to the candidates as they and separatists have asked the people to keep way from polls in the past.

Fear of terror groups has pushed the state electoral machinery to maintain secrecy over names of the winning candidates due to security reasons.


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State

Investigation started in Jammu cable car incident: DRIL

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 22: The investigation regarding the death of two labourers during the mock-drill of car cable accident in Jammu is underway while as the reports added that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were not followed during the mock-drill.

Two labourers died while four others sustained injuries on Sunday evening after a rescue trolley had fallen during the mock drill near the Mahamaya temple.

Talking to a local news gathering agency, Executive Vice President of Damodar Ropeways & Infra Limited (DRIL) said that the investigation into the incident is going on. “Police is investigating the matter. We cannot say anything in this regard until the investigation is completed,” he added.

 

However, reports informed that the SOPs were not followed while conducting the mock-drill ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit for its inauguration.

It added that as per the SOPs, while performing the mock drills, the executing agency needed to inform all other agencies concerned.

“The rescue trolley involved in the incident was meant for a maximum of four people, but there were six in it. Also, all people performing the mock drill should have worn headgear and had to be hooked to the rope,” reports quoting sources said, adding that no safety guidelines were followed during the mock drill, otherwise precious lives could have been saved.

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Mufti-Jagmohan camaraderie proved detrimental for Kashmir: Sagar

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Srinagar, Jan 22: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Tuesday paid tributes to the victims of Gawkadal massacre saying that people have not forgotten the massacre let loose on the civilians on that day.

In a statement issued here, addressing a gathering of party functionaries, and workers of Srinagar District at party headquarter Nawa –e-Subha Srinagar, party’s General Secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar said, “Those who are passing the blame and shedding crocodile tears now on the plight of Kashmiris are the one who actually traded the miseries of the people for grabbing power,” adding that Mufti as home minister trusted Jagmohan on kashmir, what followed is history.

Sagar in the statement said that Mufti through his nominated Governor unleashed havoc in Kashmir and that as home minister of India Mufti presided over 18 massacres in Kashmir including Mashali Mohalla massacre, Islamia college massacre, Chara- e- Sharief massacre, Shopian massacre, Pulwama, Kulgam massacre and Habbak massacre.

 

“Mufti-Jagmohan camaraderie proved detrimental for Kashmir, it is this camaraderie that is credited with unleashing Operation Catch and Kill, crackdowns and other human rights violations. Not just that Mufti extended draconian laws like AFSPA to Kashmir and besides that Ikhwan was also a brain child of Late Mufti Syed,” he said adding, “Continuing with their legacy of political bankruptcy Mufti’s entered into a trade policy with BJP with a sole design to destroy the respect and dignity of kashmiris.”

Sagar maintained what was left of our special status; Mufti a former lieutenant of G M Sadiq took it upon himself to destroy it. “The BJP-PDP coalition opened flood gates for all such forces as are contriving hard to harm our state’s special status.”

He said that Dr Farooq Abdullah owing to communal disposition of late Jagmohan insisted on then government at the centre not to appoint him as state’s governor. “It was late Mufti who nominated him and was instrumental in thrusting him on the state. No sooner did he become Governor, Dr. Farooq resigned as a mark of protest. What followed is written in bold red letters in the annals of history,” he said.

The meet was attended by District president Srinagar Peer Afaq, JKNC Women’s wing president Shameema Firdous, Ali Muhammad Dar, Irfan shah and others.

Sagar maintained that Mehbooba trailing her father path traded the very dignity of chief minister’s post by bald-facedly presiding over the large scale maiming, killings, blinding, nepotism, corruption, human rights violation during her stint as chief minister. “It was for the first time that people were not allowed to pray at Jamia Masid for many months altogether,” he said.

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Tourism deptt organsies first road show of winter in Pune

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Pune: Tourism Department in collaboration with Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) held an impressive Travel Show in Pune on Monday seeking the cooperation of the travel associations and the media from the city for the promotion of J&K tourism.

Over 150 leading tour operators from the city attended show who also interacted with the members from the KHAROF.

Former Union Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh who attended the show said Kashmir has immense tourism potential and people are most peaceful and loving in nature.

 

“Everyone should visit J&K State and see the nature’s beauty. The beauty also lies in the hospitality of the people who are very warm and welcoming,” he said.

Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak shared her experience of visiting Kashmir.

She said she found it safest place for travellers especially for woman.

“Even if we travel in auto at late evening, we are safe as people of the Kashmir are very good in nature and they take care of the tourists very well,” she said.

She urged the travel agents from Pune to promote J&K in a big way so that the travellers from Maharashtra will also visit paradise on Earth.

Earlier, Deputy Director Tourism Kashmir Riyaz Shah gave a detailed presentation on the tourism products which Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh has to offer.

The seminar is a part of series of road shows the department is organizing to promote J&K for the travellers within and outside the country.

Shah said J&K state is diverse in every aspect – be it leisure, adventure, culture, handicraft, cuisine, landscape, religion, architecture.

“Whatever you name it, we have it. J&K is a complete package. For a traveller, he has everything to see in one state,” he said, adding, “We are home to many famous gardens and heritage sites like Pari Mahal, Hari Parbat fort, Burzuhama ruins over 3000 years old, Mubrak Mandi, Shankar Acharya temple (250 B.C.), one of the biggest sun temples in India Martand Sun temple which was built in the 8th century, the Nara Nag temple ruins, and also famous sufi Shrines like Char-i-Sharief, Mukhdoom Sahaib, Ashmukam, Khankah Mohallah and many more.”

Riyaz Shah said that lot of filmmakers from Bollywood and even South India are shooting in Kashmir and the department is facilitating their shooting permission through single window system.

“Even now Malaysian and Thai films are being shot in Kashmir,” he said.

He also invited corporate houses for conventions and meetings to J&K saying the state has finest properties to hold such events.

President KHAROF Abdul Wahid Malik in his welcome address offered discounted packages for the travellers from Maharashtra.

He said Kashmir has over 60000 bed capacity and KHAROF is one of the largest hotel associations catering to over 24000 bed capacity from budget to star category hotels.

He invited the travellers to visit Kashmir saying the place is not only most beautiful place on the Earth but safest also.

KHAROF also released its annual directory during the show.

Earlier, the Tourism Department and KHAROF addressed media in a separate press conference.

Former KHAROF President Javed Bashir Burza briefed the media about the overall tourism infrastructure development in Kashmir.

Sanjay Nahar, the founder of Sarhad, a social organization dedicated to work in border areas, was also present in the press conference who informed them about the safety of the travellers in Kashmir.

Dr Vishwas Kelkar, president, Travel Agents Association of Pune (TAAP) also spoke on the occasion.

Senior Vice President Syed Masood Ahmad Shah, Secretary General KHAROF Maqsood Misri among other office bearers also participated in the event.

Chairman Pilgrim and Leisure Tour Operators Forum Nasir Shah moderated the show. Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance Manzoor Pakhtoon, Patron Association of Kashmir Tour Operators Nazir A Mir also participated in the show.

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