Democratic space being denied to people: Political parties in J&K

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar during announcement of the schedule for General Elections 2024.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar during announcement of the schedule for General Elections 2024.

Srinagar/Jammu | Political parties in Kashmir are disappointed that Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir are not being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha election. They have said a crucial democratic space is being "denied" to the people of the Union Territory by keeping the polls in a "deep freeze".

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has defended the move of the Election Commission (EC), citing security reasons.

The EC on Saturday said the Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir will be held after the Lok Sabha polls as organising both simultaneously is not viable from the security point of view.

National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said there is "something fishy" in not holding the Assembly election along with the Lok Sabha polls.

"If there are conducive conditions for the parliamentary election, how is it not alright for the state election? There is something fishy," the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister told PTI Videos.

NC leader Omar Abdullah said the EC is unable to conduct simultaneous polls in Jammu and Kashmir even as it has acknowledged that the Assembly election is due in the Union Territory.

"So much for 'One Nation One Election'. The EC is unable to conduct assembly polls in J&K with the general election even when they acknowledge that elections are due #GeneralElection2024," the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said in a post on X.

The NC said while it had no expectations from the EC, it was hoping against hope that common sense would prevail and the poll panel would give the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to govern themselves.

"We were not expecting anything from the EC because there was no positive vibe coming from it. We were hoping against hope that common sense will prevail and it will give people the right to govern themselves. But unfortunately, that has not happened," NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar told PTI.

He said the EC has put the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir in a "deep freeze" again.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that a crucial democratic space is being strategically denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"A crucial space in democracy is being strategically denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the last 10 years now. So much so that even the panchayat and municipal elections are not happening here when people are talking about conducting the parliamentary polls," PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan said.

"We are absolutely sorry for the kind of management and affairs that are being run today at the whims and fancies of a certain political party. We strongly object to this," he added.

PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said Jammu and Kashmir is facing "exclusion" from the democratic process.

"Given what has been snatched from us, we did not have much expectations and we do not have much expectations even after the (Lok Sabha) election. The BJP will hold the election when it suits them," he claimed.

Akhtar said it does not "make much of a difference to us as any new government (in Jammu and Kashmir) will not be same as the earlier governments".

"The new government under the present scheme of things is not even a glorified municipality," he added.

Chief spokesperson of the Jammu and Kashmir Congress Ravinder Sharma told PTI that the EC has disappointed the people of the Union Territory.

He said all political parties had unanimously demanded simultaneous polls in Jammu and Kashmir. "We have again been deprived of democracy," Sharma said.

However, the BJP defended the EC's move.

"We also wanted the Assembly election to be held with the Lok Sabha polls. But it is the decision of the EC, which has said the Assembly polls will be held after the general election. It is a welcome step. There may have been security concerns," Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina said.

The Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference (JKPC), led by Sajad Lone, said while one election is being conducted, the EC should have held another one along with it.

"We were hoping that the Assembly polls would also be conducted simultaneously. They should have conducted both elections together," JKPC spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said.

Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M Y Tarigami said the EC not announcing the Assembly polls was a big disappointment.

"It is a big disappointment again for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The recent visit of the EC had generated a certain amount of hope that the polls might be held for the Assembly after a long time. But they have been deferred again by giving excuses," he said.

Tarigami said when the Lok Sabha polls are being conducted in phases, security can be rationalised and a huge component of security is not required for the Assembly election.

"These are excuses which are not acceptable. Denying democracy to the people does not serve the interests of the country," he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party vice-president Ghulam Hassan Mir said it seems that the EC does not want to empower the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"We had a hope that the EC would make an announcement on Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. But to our disappointment, there was no mention of it. It seems that the EC does not want to empower the people here," he said.

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah

Something fishy in not holding Assembly election in J&K along with LS polls: Farooq Abdullah

Srinagar | National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said there is "something fishy" in not holding the Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha polls.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also said as the BJP-led Centre is pushing for "one nation, one election", this was an opportunity for it.

"If there are conducive conditions for the parliamentary election, how is it not alright for the state election? There is something fishy," Abdullah told PTI Videos.

He said it was sad that the Assembly polls have been delayed even after all the political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sought an early election.

"The NC, the BJP leaders from Jammu, the other parties that were called by the EC, everyone demanded that there should be both parliamentary and state elections here. We feel very sad. How long are we going to put up with the lieutenant governor? If you want to win the hearts of people, then this was the start," Abdullah said.

He said the Centre is pushing for "one nation, one election" and this was an opportunity for it.

"Four states are going for both parliamentary and state elections. Why are you denying the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to choose their own government? There must be something brewing in their minds which they cannot do if they have these elections with the parliamentary polls. I am quite confident that they are not sure about their victory here," Abdullah added.

Asked about the list of NC candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, the former chief minister said it will be announced within a week.

"In a week, we will announce the list. If the party decides that I have to fight the election, I will. It is all about the party's decision," the 86-year-old politician said.

NC leader Omar Abdullah said the Election Commission (EC) is unable to conduct simultaneous polls in Jammu and Kashmir even as it has acknowledged that the Assembly election is due in the Union Territory.

"So much for 'One Nation One Election'. The EC is unable to conduct assembly polls in J&K with the general election even when they acknowledge that elections are due #GeneralElection2024," he said in a post on X.

The EC on Saturday said the Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir will be held after the Lok Sabha polls as organising both simultaneously is not viable from the security point of view.

The NC, which is part of the INDIA opposition bloc, has decided to contest all the three Lok Sabha seats from Kashmir while it is in talks with the Congress for the two seats in Jammu and the lone seat in Ladakh.

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