J&K admin to verify status of anti-defection law

Horse-trading in DDCs: J&K admin to verify status of anti-defection law

A law is already in place to deter defections in the Parliament, Assembly and Panchayats, but do not apply to DDCs

Representative image. Credit: iStockPhoto

Amid allegations of horse-trading and pressurising of DDC candidates to switch sides, Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday said that it will verify whether anti-defection law can be enacted in the union territory (UT) to stop the alleged poaching.

“I will have to check it from the Rural Development Department (RDD) department whether the anti-defection law can be imposed on DDC members or not,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, P K Pole, told reporters on the sidelines of the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected DDC members in Srinagar.

After PM Narendra Modi recently praised J&K administration for holding peaceful district development council (DDC) elections, former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah alleged that the BJP was using official machinery to influence, buy or pressurise winning candidates to switch sides.

He also accused the Apni Party, believed to be the proxy of the BJP, and the union territory administration of using coercive tactics to buy loyalties of newly elected DDC members.

The NC leader had demanded that anti-defection laws should be applied to all candidates who switch sides after the election results. Over the last few days, the Apni Party claimed that three candidates - one Independent and one each from the NC and the PDP - who won the DDC elections last week, have joined its ranks.

Since the anti-defection laws do not apply to the winning candidates of DDCs, parties like NC, PDP and Congress don’t have any recourse when its winning candidates shift allegiance.