J&K parties criticise decision to defer assembly poll, slam govt

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JAMMU: Parties in Jammu and Kashmir Sunday criticised the decision to defer assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir and blamed the Centre for “mishandling” the security situation and “surrendering” to militants and separatists.

The Congress, National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flayed the Centre for not holding the assembly polls along with the parliamentary election, which will be held in five phases in the state.

The NC said it was for the first time since 1996 that assembly election in the state was not being held on time. Former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Decision to hold only parliamentary elections in J&K confirms sinister designs of Government of India.”

“Not letting people elect a government is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. Also a tactic of buying time to disempower people by pushing an agenda that suits their ulterior motives,” she tweeted.

The Election Commission, which announced the schedule for the parliamentary election on Sunday, cited security reasons for deferring assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir.

The state has been under President’s Rule after the ruling alliance between the BJP and the PDP fell apart last year. After the poll panel announced its decision, NC leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “surrendered” before Pakistan, militants and separatists.

“In light of the failure to conduct assembly elections on time in J&K I’m retweeting my tweets from a few days ago. PM Modi has surrendered to Pakistan, to the militants & to the hurriyat. Well done Modi Sahib. 56 inch chest failed, Omar said, taking a dig at the prime minister. Modi’s “abject surrender” to anti-India forces is “a crying shame”, he said.

“Balakote & Uri are not symbols of PM Modi’s handling of national security, J&K is and look at the mess he has made there. The abject surrender to anti-India forces is a crying shame, he said, referring to the Uri terror attack and the air strike by India in terrorist camps in Pakistan’s Balakot after the Pulwama terror strike. “Remember this the next time you are praising PM Modi for his strong leadership,” he said.

Omar said that in 2014, J-K had Lok Sabha elections on time and assembly elections on schedule even after the most devastating floods, but delaying them now “shows how badly the BJP & earlier the BJP-PDP mishandled J&K .

“What happened to (Union Home Minister) @rajnathsingh’s assurance to Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha as well as to the all-party meeting recently in Delhi that all forces would be made available for simultaneous polls?” he asked in another tweet. Omar said he never thought Modi would be “willing to confess his failure on a global stage by not conducting the assembly polls on time in J-K.

“With the amount of international attention elections in J&K attract I never thought PM Modi would be willing to confess his failure on a global stage but we all make mistakes & that was mine,” he said.

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress alleged that the assembly election was deferred due to the Centre’s “mishandling” of the situation.

“The Centre’s tall claims regarding the situation in the state stand exposed. The Centre has itself certified that the situation is out of control and not conducive for holding simultaneous polls, Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir said in a statement.

Mir said it was a golden chance for the Centre to hold assembly elections to give an elected government to the people, as all political parties favoured simultaneously elections in the state.

But, the Centre has once again failed to hold assembly elections citing volatile situation as the reason which is indicative of utter failure of the Centre to respect the urges and aspirations of the people, he said.

The Congress leader recalled that during the UPA government’s tenure, elections were conducted in 2014 despite unfavourable conditions, but the state recorded the “highest poll percentage”.

“This time, elections have been deferred due to the mishandling of the situation on the part of the Centre,” Mir alleged.

Senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said deferment of assembly polls will send out wrong signals to people within and outside the state.

He said the Chief Election Commissioner during his presser in New Delhi repeatedly cited recent incidents of violence in Kashmir as the reason for not holding assembly polls.

“If that is true, then how could Lok Sabha polls be held? Even the J-K Governor recently said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi complimented him for ‘successful’ conduct of civic elections in Jammu and Kashmir. When these polls could be held, what is the logic for deferring assembly polls? Tarigami questioned.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (NPP) expressed surprise over the decision to not hold the assembly election simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls in the state.

NPP supremo Bhim Singh said in Jammu, “This has exposed the double standards of the BJP government at the Centre.”

Singh claimed that the BJP government has deliberately deprived the people of the state of their constitutional rights.

Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and continue for over a month till May 19 across seven phases, followed by counting of votes on May 23, the Election Commission announced in Delhi on Sunday.

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