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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

No one can stop AIP now: Rasheed

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Srinagar, May 23: Awami Itihaad Party (AIP) President and Party’s candidate for Baramulla Parliamentary constituency Er Rasheed has said that results are much encouraging for AIP and no one on earth can stop the party from becoming alternative to NC, PDP and other regional parties.

In a statement issued today, Rasheed said that the spirit of democracy needs to be respected and all those who have won the elections deserve congratulations. However, AIP has proved all political analysis wrong and has shown excellent performance by improving its performance beyond imagination. Those who used to accuse AIP of dividing votes should realize that party was not there to divide votes but to give a befitting fight despite all compulsions and the results have proved all those forces wrong who claimed to be lone warriors of Kashmiris.

Rasheed while thanking AIP cadres said that party is thankful to every single voter and party colleagues who voted and worked for an ideology and have laid a strong foundation stone for the future. AIP promises to follow its pro-people agenda with consistency and sincerity. One should not forget that AIP decided at the eleventh hour to contest the elections and without a proper cadre the party volunteers succeeded in sending a deep message to the masses that AIP has the potential to replace those who have given Kashmiris nothing except disappointments and false promises.

 

Rasheed reiterated his appeal to sincere political workers to join AIP and become part of a change which will not only ensure leadership that represents sentiments, sacrifices and aspiration of masses but will also give them best and corruption-free governance.

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Moulvi Yousuf Shah (RA) put in all-out efforts to highlight Kashmir issue globally: Mirwaiz

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Srinagar, May 23: The 52nd death anniversary of Mahajar-e-Millat Mirwaiz Moulvi Yousuf Shah (RA) was observed on both sides of the divide in Kashmir with full respect and honor.

Paying rich tributes to the martyrs of battle of Badr and to highlight the role and great contribution of Muhajir-e-Milat (RA) on social, moral, educational and religious and political front, Mirwaiz-e-Kashmir Umar Farooq while addressing the gathering at the historic Aali Masjid at Eidgah here, shed light on the life and religious political contribution of late Mirwaiz.

While paying rich tributes to him for his commitment to the people’s political movement as a pioneer in creating awareness among them regarding their political rights for which he was exiled, Mirwaiz paid homage to the great leader for his great contribution in the spread of religious teachings and social justice among the people of the state. He said that Mujahir-e-Milat put in all-out efforts during his lifetime to highlight the Kashmir issue globally and to pitch for Kashmiri’s.

 

Mirwaiz said that the translation and commentary of holy Quran in Kashmiri language by the late Mirwaiz helped put Kashmir on the global Islamic map and earned him great respect in Islamic world.

Mirwaiz also paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the battle of Badr stating that the great companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) despite being less in number fought against the enemy to keep the Islamic flag high and that their priceless sacrifices will always be remembered till the day of judgment.

Those who spoke on the occasion include Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, Moulana Masroor Abbas Ansari, Moulana Showkat Hussain Keng, Moulana Khursheed Ahmed Qanoongo, and Moulana Syedur Rehman Shams. The speakers paid rich tributes to Mujahir-e-Milat and vowed to take his mission to its logical conclusion.

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Ganai interacts with KCCI delegation, others

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Srinagar, May 23: As part of the weekly outreach programme, Advisor to Governor Khurshid Ahmed Ganai Thursday interacted with a number of delegations and individuals at J&K Governor’s Grievance Cell at Church Lane, Sonawar in Srinagar.

More than 22 delegations and scores of individuals from various parts of the Valley projected a number of issues on the occasion and sought their immediate redressal.

The delegations which met the Advisor during the day-long interaction include Amarnath Yatra Baltal Traders, delegation of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry, College Contractual Teachers, General line Teachers Forum and Academic Arrangement Teachers besides delegations from Umar Colony Lal Bazar, Nowgam Anantnag and Pahoo Pulwama among others.

 

The Advisor gave a patient hearing to the deputations and individuals and said that all the genuine issues put forth during the public hearing will be looked into.

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