/Congress boycotting local elections in Jammu and Kashmir; PDF, NC also iffy

Congress boycotting local elections in Jammu and Kashmir; PDF, NC also iffy

The Congress has decided to boycott the upcoming Block Development Council (BDC) elections which will take place in Jammu and Kashmir, reports ANI. Voting is the first electoral process in the Union Territory after the repeal of Article 370 in August.

The election is to be held from 9 am to 1 pm on October 24, while the counting of votes will begin at 3 pm on the same day.

State Congress Committee Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma had earlier said that there was no support from the government even after his party had expressed its willingness to participate in the elections despite strong reservations about the compatibility of the situation in the state.

“The party is reviewing the overall scenario in relation to the BDC elections in view of the ongoing restrictions on senior party leaders across the Kashmir Valley,” he said.

The National Conference, the People’s Democratic Party, the two main regional parties, along with former CM Omar and all top notch leaders of the Valley including Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have already expressed reservations on participating in the BDC elections.

The National Conference has already called the voting process the ‘biggest joke of democracy’. It questioned the decision to hold elections in Kashmir under the shadow of ‘sanctions’.

PDP general secretary R.K. “The political activity of our party is completely zero as all our senior leaders have been detained or under house arrest,” Bali told IANS.

The PDP leader said that in the absence of a senior leader of his party, no major decision can be taken in view of the BDC election.

Announcing the elections last week, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar indicated that top political leaders have been in custody since Article 370 was repealed, should be released for canvassing. “This is not a big election. There will be no door-to-door for campaigning. It is a short electoral process… ”, he said.

Elections will be held after the repeal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by the division of the Central Government and the two Union Territories of the state. Kashmir was placed under strict clauses and communication blockade before the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August. Mainstream politicians, including three former Chief Ministers and separatists of the state, were detained.

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