NC to boycott municipal, panchayat polls in J&K

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah

In a serious jolt to Centre’s efforts to hold panchayat and local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference (NC) on Wednesday announced to boycott these polls until New Delhi takes effective steps to protect Article 35A.

“The NC won’t contest the panchayat and municipal polls slated later this year as the situation is not conducive for it,” Farooq Abdullah,  NC president said while addressing a press conference here.
He said the decision was taken in the party’s core group meeting on Wednesday. “Recently announced urban local body polls and panchayat elections came under discussion. The core group felt that this decision was taken in a hurried manner, without taking into consideration the prevailing situation created by the powers that be by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35A,” Abdullah said.
“The core group unanimously decided that the JKNC will not participate in the elections unless and until the government of India and the state government clear its position in this regard and takes an effective step for the protection of article 35 A in and outside the court,” he said.
The NC patriarch said the stand of the Central government and the present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court goes “clearly against the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state.” 
The state government headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik last week announced the schedule for holding elections to local bodies and panchayats in the state. While the urban local body polls are slated for the first week of October, the panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in November-December. 
With NC’s decision to boycott the polls, it is likely that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may also take the same course. Last week, the Supreme Court had adjourned the hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A to January next year. The Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government referred to the panchayat polls in the state and sought an adjournment of hearing on petitions against Article 35A.

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NC to boycott municipal, panchayat polls in J&K


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