Militant threat: 13 BJP candidates withdraw nominations

Militant threat: 13 BJP candidates withdraw nominations

PTI file photo for representation.

Just three days ahead of first phase of urban local bodies (ULB) polls in Jammu and Kashmir, 13 BJP candidates on Thursday withdrew their nominations and resigned from the basic membership of the party. 

The candidates, who withdrew from the polls, include a husband and wife, whose paddy harvest was set on fire by unidentified persons on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.

Gul Muhammad Khan and his wife Hajira Begum had both filed nomination for the upcoming municipal polls on a BJP ticket and both withdrew it on Thursday.

The constituency president of the BJP in Dooru, Anantnag, Ghulam Hassan Bhat said that all the 13 nominations of the party stand withdrawn. He said that he, along with other party members, were disgruntled with the party leadership and took the step because of that. “I have also given up basic party membership,” Bhat said.

Some BJP candidates in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district alleged they were held hostage at the official residence of a senior party leader to prevent them from withdrawing nominations. 
“We were then taken to the residence of the BJP leader in housing colony Khanabal and detained there. We were not allowed to leave in order to prevent us from withdrawing nominations,” one of the candidates, wishing anonymity said.
In Srinagar, petrol was thrown at the residence of a BJP candidate Showkat Raja from Gojwara area of the Old City. “The gate of our house caught fire, but it was immediately doused. There was no major damage because they put patrol on our gate,” Raja said.
Overall 982 candidates have filed their nominations for the four phases of the ULB polls in the valley, poll officials said. Out of the 982 candidates, 179 have been declared elected unopposed in the polls, which will be held in the backdrop of threats by militants and boycott calls by separatists and mainstream regional parties NC and PDP.
The first phase of polling will be undertaken on October 8, followed by second phase on October 10, third on October 13 and the fourth and final phase on October 16. Counting of the votes will be taken up on October 20.
A senior police official said due to security reasons most of the contesting candidates, particularly those from far-flung and vulnerable areas, have been shifted to ‘safer locations.’ Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit has issued a strong warning to those participating in the polls, asking them to get shrouds along with the elections forms. 
“We have already got barrels of acid and we will blind those people who participate in these elections, so that they know the pain of our pellet-blinded youth,” Hizbul commander Riyaz Naikoo said in an audio message a few weeks ago.