After NC, PDP to boycott municipal, panchayat polls

PDP chief and former chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti.

After the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday announced that it will boycott the upcoming panchayat and municipal polls in Jammu & Kashmir.

“The situation created by linking panchayat polls with the case pending in Supreme Court about Article 35A has created apprehensions in the minds of the people, who genuinely see an assault on the special constitutional position of the state,” said PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

“Looking at the (prevailing) situation, we have decided to stay away from the (election) process,” she announced.

Earlier, the PDP, which was in alliance with the BJP from 2015 till June this year, passed a unanimous resolution that stated that imposing elections would “erode the credibility” of the electoral process.

“It was felt that any attempt to impose any electoral exercise in the current atmosphere of fear and apprehension would seriously erode the credibility of the process,” the resolution said. “It (conducting elections) would defeat the very purpose of it,” the party resolution added.

The move comes just days after the NC announced that it will not contest the polls “until and unless the government of India and the state government clear their position on Article 35A, and takes effective steps to protect Article 35 A in and outside the court”.

Article 35A, which gives special rights to people in the state and bars outsiders from owning immovable property, has been challenged in the Supreme Court. In August, the top court deferred the case until January 2019.

The State Administrative Council (SAC), headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik, on August 30 announced that the elections to urban local bodies in the state will be held between October 1 and October 5. Panchayat elections, not held in the state since 2011, are scheduled to be held between November 8 and December 4.

  • Article 35A
  • Mehbooba Mufti
  • Kashmir