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Guv rule to continue in J&K, says Ram Madhav

Asks NC-PDP to clear stand on participating in assembly polls

Press Trust of India

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KATHUA, Nov 14: Accusing the NC and the PDP of trying to scuttle the democratic process, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has asked them to clear stand on whether they would participate in state assembly elections or boycott them, like they did during the local bodies polls.
Asked about any proposal to dissolve the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Madhav said the Governor’s rule will continue till the middle of December and what happens next will be discussed then.
“We are happy with it and that is why BJP has decided to continue the Governor rule for sometime,” he said at a function here to felicitate the newly-elected BJP councillors late last night.
Under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no provision for extension of Governor’s rule. Sources have told PTI that the central government might recommend a spell of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir when the Governor’s rule expires on December 19.
Without naming the NC or the PDP, Madhav said their hypocrisy stands exposed as they first boycotted the ULB polls but are now pressing for dissolution of assembly for fresh elections.
“On one hand they say they will not take part in elections to safeguard Article 35A, on the other, they demand dissolution of assembly and fresh elections. Tomorrow if assembly elections are held, will you will fight or go by your boycott?” he said.
The BJP leader asked if the two parties decide to participate in the state polls, “what will happen to Article 35A, which you used as a pretext to stall the ULB elections.”
He, however, said he welcomes the parties to take part in the democratic process but wants “them to give up hypocrisy”.
“They took part in (Ladakh autonomous hill development council elections) in Kargil polls but boycotted the ULB polls to scuttle the democratic exercise. However, people taught them a good lesson and forced them to take part in panchayat polls,” Madhav said.
On the sidelines of the event, the BJP leader also said the Indian state forces are fully capable of facing any challenge from Pakistan in an “appropriate manner”, his comment coming after three Army soldiers and a porter were killed in sniping incidents along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in a week.
Asked whether the time has come for another “surgical strike” across the border, he said the state forces would review the situation and “whatever is required will be done by them”.
Praising the Governor’s administration, Madhav said a very good atmosphere has been built in the state. “Militancy is being dealt with strictly and it (operations against militants) will continue,” he said.
He said people are acknowledging the work done Governor Satya Pal Malik.
About resignations of some BJP councilors in Kashmir, he said people are also joining the party in large numbers. “Those who have resigned will be brought back,” he said.

 

No assembly walkover to BJP: Omar

 

Srinagar, Nov 14: The former chief minister and National Conference (NC) Vice president, Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the parties who boycotted the recently held ULB and upcoming Panchayat polls won’t give Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) a walkover in the assembly elections.
Omar was reacting to a statement made by BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhav over two regional parties who boycotted the elections including NC and PDP regarding their demand of dissolving assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, which continued to remain under suspended animation from July this year.

NC Vice president in a tweet said that BJP has got the control of a handful of towns and cities as NC and PDP stayed away from the polls and due to the poor performance of Congress, who fought the elections.

He asked Madhav that “do you really think that NC and PDP will give a walkover in the assembly polls.”
“You got the control of a handful of towns & cities because NC & PDP stayed away (and the Congress did such a poor job of putting up a fight) do you really think we will give you a walkover in the Assembly polls?,” Omar tweeted.

Govt can be formed before or after 2019 Lok Sabha polls:Koul

Srinagar, Nov 14: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said that the saffron party will form the government if required number of 19 MLAs come forward for government formation.
BJP State Secretary (Organisation) Ashok Koul said “if the required number of 19 MLAs comes to us for formation of a new government we will stake claim to form the government.”
When asked which party and individuals would come their way for formation of a new government in Jammu and Kashmir, Koul said “gates are open and we have already a trusted ally Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference who can be given a pivotal role in the formation of a new government in the state.”
When asked how long it will take the saffron party to get the required numbers, Ashok Koul said “it can happen before 2019 Lok Sabha elections or after Lok Sabha polls.” (KNS)


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Lead Stories

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS: 13.6% turnout in Anantnag district

Segment-wise %age: Bijbehara 2.04, Anantnag 3.47, Dooru 17.28, Kokernag 19.50, Shangus 15.10, Pahalgam 20.37

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Apr 23: The Anantnag district Tuesday witnessed a low voter turnout of 13.6 per cent in the third phase of the parliamentary elections.

Tuesday witnessed the first phase of the 3-phased polls for Anantnag Parliamentary seat, which also comprises of Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts.

Once considered PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s bastion, the Bijbehara segment recorded the lowest poll percentage of 2.04%. Pahalgam recorded the highest turnout at 20.37%.

 

Addressing media persons, Chief Electoral Officer, J&K Shailendra Kumar said that polling took place “without any untoward incident”.

Divulging segment wise details of the district, the CEO informed that the percentage of the total votes polled in Anantnag segment  was 3.47 per cent, Dooru 17.28, Kokernag 19.50, Shangus 15.10, Bijbehara 2.04 and Pahalgam 20.37 %.

Kumar said that out of 5.27 lakh voters (2.69 lakh males) and (2.57 females), 71777 voters cast their vote.

He said that 54,663 voters were to cast their vote for the first time, adding that 44,536 voters were in the age group of 18 -21 years.

In Kokernag as per Kumar, 18312 votes were polled with a polling percentage of 19.36% and in Shangus 13354 votes were polled with a poll percentage of 15.09%.

In Bijbehara, 1905 votes were polled with a polling percentage of 2.04% and in Pahalgam 17649 votes  were polled with a polling percentage of 20.37%.  

Kumar said that “total poll percentage of three phases held so far stands at 48.87%.”

He said that for the smooth polling, the ECI had setup 714 polling stations in the district. The ECI had also established 21 model polling stations, 12 all women model polling stations.

He complemented all those involved in the poll process including political parties and election staff.

The polling took place in 714 polling stations including 21 migrant polling stations and 71 model polling stations.

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Bleak turnout may hit PDP

‘My father’s workers will ensure my victory’

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Srinagar, Apr 23: With the overall voter turnout in the first of the three-phase polling in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency settling below 10 per cent till 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the fate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti hangs precariously in the balance in what was till recently her party’s bastion.

The bad news for Mufti is that voters in her ancestral town Bijbehara and the neighbouring Anantnag showed very little interest to come out and join the poll process.

Mufti won this Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and resigned in 2016 to become the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir following the death of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

 

She later won the 2016 bypoll for the Anantnag Assembly seat to get elected to the 87-member state legislative Assembly. Anantnag Assembly seat fell vacant due to Mufti Senior’s death in 2016.

In contrast to the less than 3 per cent voter turnout in Bijbehara and Anantnag segments that have traditionally been PDP strongholds, the turnout was better in Dooru, Kokernag and Shangus segments where her Congress rival, Ghulam Ahmad Mir has strong voter support.

The voter turnout has also been good in the Pahalgam segment, but it is believed that the PDP and the National Conference (NC) would cut almost equally here, again giving an edge to the Congress candidate.

Voting will be held in Kulgam district of the constituency on April 29 and in Shopian and Pulwama districts on May 6 and the voter turnout in these remaining districts may make or mar the electoral prospects of the PDP President.

Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday said that the workers of her father Mufti Sayeed will ensure her victory in the Lok Sabha polls.

After casting her vote in Bijbehara area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, Mehbooba said that “this time my father Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed is not with me but his workers who have worked for him are still there.”

“I hope the workers of my father will ensure my victory in this election,” Mehbooba told reporters.

Asked about low voter turnout in her hometown Bijbehara, Mehbooba said, “I am hopeful of good results.”

Mehbooba is among the 18 candidates who are in fray for South Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency.

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‘Mehbooba disowned her birth place; we just returned the favour today’

Firdous Hassan

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Bijbehara, Apr 23: Barely 100 meters away from the ancestral home of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) founder Late Mufti Sayeed, in Baba Mohalla Bijbehara, a group of seven elderly men were Tuesday drawing comparison between the ongoing and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Sitting on a pavement close to late Mufti’s ancestral house, they lamented the party’s downfall in the town particularly after the death of the PDP founder, which was followed by her daughter Mehbooba Mufti taking over the party in 2015.

As their arguments grew louder, a number of youth, who were sitting near the shrine of Baba Naseem-ud-din Gazi (RA), too joined in. They all justified the town’s “total boycott” of the Lok Sabha elections this year.

 

By noon, only 78 votes had been polled in the town which has 6,756 electorates.

Only 27 votes were polled in three polling booths closest to Mehbooba’s ancestral home.

All these men and youth were seemingly unhappy with the PDP chief for “disowning” her home town soon after taking over as the Member of Parliament (MP) and later Chief Minister of the state.

A man in his 60s said that Mehbooba during her speech soon after being elected as MP in 2014 claimed that she belonged to the nearby Akhran village.

“Her father Mufti Sayeed sahab lived here and she too managed to garner people’s support from here in 2014. How could she later claim that she never belonged to the town? The same day we started losing our hopes in her,” he said.

Abdul Salam, another elderly person, said that Muftis “have now even changed their graveyard from Baba Mohalla to Dara Shikoh Park.”

“People are very angry with them. Mufti Sahab could have been buried in his ancestral graveyard, which the family didn’t prefer. In 2014, we saw a large number of voters coming out of their homes to support the party, which is not happening now,” he said.

Regretting the loss the area faced with the death of Mufti Sayeed, the locals claimed Mehbooba “ignored the people of her town. That was the reason why people were showing their backs to PDP”.

“Mufti Sahab would visit to the town every now and then. But we haven’t seen Mehbooba ji after she won her elections in 2014. So people this time preferred to boycott the election,” said a youth supported by others.

One of the locals questioned the PDP’s approach towards the town by pointing towards a street, which was littered with garbage.

“Do you expect streets in a chief minister’s town looking like this?” he questioned, while pointing towards the street.

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