NC terms ongoing J&K civic polls as 'exercise in waste'

NC terms ongoing J&K civic polls as 'exercise in waste'

Security personnel stand guard at a polling station during the first phase of elections for urban local bodies, in Budgam district of central Kashmir, on Monday. PTI

The National Conference (NC) on Monday termed the ongoing civic polls in Jammu and Kashmir as an “exercise in waste” while the BJP said that people of the state have rejected the NC and the PDP by exercising their franchise in the first phase of polling.

“The whole (poll) process has been superimposed on the state without taking into consideration the ground realities. It is an inconsiderate exercise to hold ULB polls in the valley. The institutions of the state are being bulldozed and played with just to satiate the arrogance of those who continue to target the state's special status and doesn’t want normalcy to return to J&K,” NC spokesperson Imran Dar said in a statement

He said that elections are like festivals of democracy which induce new life in a nation’s life “but the ongoing polls have cast a shadow on the very roots of democracy in the state.”

Questioning the validity of the poll process, Dar said, “The whole exercise of conducting polls has turned out to be a joke. In most of the wards, people simply don’t know who is contesting from their wards as contestants, who are put up in guarded hotels within Srinagar and other areas. They have not even gone into their areas seeking votes. Even the names of the candidates were never released by the Election Commission. Is this what their idea of democracy is?”

However, rejecting the NC claims, Bharatiya Jana Party (BJP) state General Secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul said the people who came out and cast the ballots on Monday have rejected the two regional parties, who had announced boycott to the elections.

“The BJP will encourage the workers who supported the party. The concerns of BJP workers will be looked into,” he said and claimed the polling percentage today was a victory of democracy. 

BJP’s ally and Peoples Conference leader Sajjad Lone said that political parties have a right to not participate in elections “but the boycott and dissent remain half-baked and farcical when the same political parties continue to occupy posts of legislators and parliamentarians and continue to enjoy the perks of office.”

“If they (NC and PDP) are really serious about the boycott, there are a host of better options available without impacting local governance. They can resign from their posts and refuse a salary. They can boycott official accommodation. They can say a big no to security. Confining boycott selectively to grassroots democracy is cruel. Stunting local body representation while having a different yardstick for Assembly and Parliament seats are hypocritical,” he told reporters after casting his vote in Handwara area of north Kashmir.

The separatist-turned-mainstream leader said that his party boycotted elections for more than 20 years in the past “and the futility and disadvantages of a boycott are well established.”