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Municipal polls: Guv appeals for participation

Srinagar, Sep 15: Governor Satya Pal Malik Saturday broke his silence over Article 35 and requested political parties to participate in the elections.

“Matter of Article 35 A is subjudice for a long time. We had said that we can’t take a stand until a new government is formed here. I would like to request them to participate in the election. Elections are neither for Delhi nor me but for the people of J&K,” Malik said.

 

J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam had earlier denied reports that the upcoming local body and municipal elections in the state will be deferred in view of boycott calls from the National Conference and the PDP.

Clearing the air on the issue on Wednesday, the state’s Chief Secretary said, “Municipal and Panchayat polls will be held as per schedule.”

He also refuted media reports that Governor’s administration was considering deferment of the municipal polls in view of the boycott calls by NC and the PDP.

Subrahmanyam said this while interacting with the media on the sidelines of an official function in Srinagar on Wednesday.

The regional National Conference (NC) and the Mehbooba Mufti-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had already announced the boycott of these polls.

Announcing their decision the two parties said that they were not against the electoral process but claimed that there were chaos and confusion regarding the Centre’s stand on Article 35A which gives special privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asking the Centre to clear its stand on the issue, the two parties said that they would not participate in any electoral exercise till the confusion on Article 35A is cleared.

Meanwhile, the Congress too recently said that the current ground situation in the Kashmir Valley is not conducive for holding these polls.

Earlier in August, protest and shutdown was observed at several places in Kashmir after clashes broke out between youths and security forces following rumours about the scrapping of Article 35A, which accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.

Malik became the 13th Governor J&K by replacing NN Vohra whose term as J&K’s governor ended on June 28 but was extended till Amarnath Yatra’s conclusion. It must be noted that Vohra was appointed as J&K governor by the UPA-II and the NDA under Narendra Modi had decided to continue with him after coming to power in 2014.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir continue to be under Governor’s rule since June 20 after the BJP broke the three-year-old alliance with Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Earlier, both the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had announced that they will boycott the coming municipal and panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir.