Accusing the Centre and the State governments of creating “uncertainty” over local bodies and panchayat polls, Jammu and Kashmir unit of Congress on Wednesday said that situation was not conducive in the Valley for holding such an exercise.
“Panchayat and municipal polls were declared in the state without taking a stock of the situation on the ground. The Central government and administration should clear their stand in front of the people of J&K whether they want to conduct elections or is it just a gimmick,” state Congress chief G A Mir told reporters after chairing the party’s core group meet, here.
He said they would send a team to New Delhi to brief the party high command over the issue. “The team of senior state leaders will also hold deliberations on whether to participate in the polls,” Mir said.
He said the party had raised certain questions on the issue when it met Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik (on Tuesday) and it seemed the government was only “testing waters” and not serious on the issue.
“We called on the governor yesterday and raised a certain question on the preparations for the polls. But the concerns have not been addressed. The polls were announced without taking anyone onboard. It seems that the government is only testing the waters,” the state Congress chief said.
Asked whether the situation was conducive for conducting the polls, he said, “Even a blind person will tell you that the situation is not fit for elections in Jammu and Kashmir right now.”
On the decision of boycott of the polls by National Conference and PDP over the issue of legal challenge to the Article 35A, Mir said, “Every party is entitled to its opinion, but linking the panchayat and local bodies polls with the hearing on the Article 35A in the Supreme Court by the government is wrong.”
The NC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have made it clear that they won’t participate in the poll exercise until the Centre makes its position clear on safeguarding Article 35A, a constitutional provision that bars non-state residents from buying land and applying in various government jobs in the State.
With Congress also not making its stand clear whether it will participate in the polls or not, there is all likelihood that municipal polls scheduled early next month may be deferred by the State Advisory Council (SAC) led by Governor Satya Pal Malik when it meets later in the day.
J&K CS refutes reports of deferment of polls
Refuting the reports of deferment of panchayat and municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Wednesday maintained that the elections will be held as per the schedule.
“There will be no change in the date of (municipal and panchayat) polls,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function at SKICC here.
However, sources said, with National Conference (NC) and PDP, the two main parties in Jammu and Kashmir, deciding to boycott the upcoming urban local body polls, and Congress party yet to make its stand clear, the state government is likely to defer the exercise till January next year.
They said a formal decision in this regard is likely to be by the State Advisory Council (SAC) headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik later in the day.