Cong still to decide; PDP-NC unlikely to take part; BJP-NPP only parties in

AVINAV VERMA. Updated: 10/9/2019 9:30:24 AM Front Page

BDC polls: Last day for filing nomination today

JAMMU: Barring Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and National Panthers Party (NPP), the mainstream parties in State are still uncertain of their participation in the elections to Block Development Councils (BDCs) in Jammu and Kashmir, even as Wednesday is the last day for filing nomination.

The biggest surprise comes from Congress which had announced to participate in the elections to the second tier of the grassroots democracy, but is now reviewing its decision in view of the continued restrictions on majority of its senior leaders in the valley.

The party leaders are scheduled to address a press conference tomorrow noon at 12:30 pm on their decision.

The National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who had expressed their willingness to participate in democratic exercise, are likely to stay away from the polls attributing this to the curbs imposed in state following Union government’s decision to abrogate special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

Excluding BJP and NPP, none of other political party has issued list of contestants despite the fact that tomorrow (Wednesday) is last day for filing nomination and only 14 days left for the polling.

Block Development Council (BDC) polls will be held in Jammu and Kashmir on October 24. These will be the first elections to be held in the state since its special status was revoked.

On one hand, BJP and NPP is distributing nomination forms among contestants and some of party candidates have already filed nomination while other parties are still formulating strategy to participate in the polls.
“It is very difficult for us to participate in the BDC elections as we are unable to reach out to our leaders due to these curbs. We have always participated in electoral process whether it is Panchayat or Municipal elections but it is quite difficult to take decision in these circumstances,” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) Chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir told The News Now Tuesday evening.

Mir was convening a meeting of senior leaders at the time.

“If government wants the involvement of other political parties they must have allowed the movement of party workers and leaders. We have raised the same issue with J&K Chief Election Commissioner Shailendra Kumar six day back but nothing has been done so far,” he said, adding “Our meetings are going on and we will reveal the plan tomorrow.”

“There is no cooperation from the government even after party expressed its willingness to participate in the polls despite strong reservations about the conduciveness of the situation in the state,” Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma added.

"The party is taking a fresh review of the overall scenario with regard to BDC elections in the wake of continued restrictions on the majority of senior party leaders in the entire Kashmir Valley," he said.

Mainstream political leaders in the valley, including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest since the government announced dilution of provisions of Article 370 over two months ago.

"It is preposterous to talk about any kind of political process at this juncture when the entire leadership of the National Conference and all other political parties like the PDP and leaders like Sajjad Lone and Shah Faisal have been detained," National Conference, (NC) MP Hasnain Masoodi said.

“We have already told that if the detained leaders are released then only we are able to participate but the administration has turned deaf ear towards our issue. At this point, we are not able to take any decision,” Provincial President of National Conference (NC) Devendra Rana told this scribe.

PDP which had deferred its meeting on Sunday discuss BDC polls with detained leaders is also uncertain about their participation in the democratic process.

“The leaders, who are empowered to take decision are either detained or arrested. In this situation we are unable to take a call,” PDP leader and former Member of Legislative Council Firdous Tak said.

The BDC elections, are being held on October 24 along party lines for 310 blocks out of the total 316 blocks in 22 districts of the state.

Meanwhile, the National Panthers Party (NPP), which will also be contesting the BDC elections, accused the state administration of violating the model code of conduct (MCC).

NPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh alleged that the governor's advisors were using official vehicles to visit grievance redressal camps and announcing new schemes during their public meetings.

The announcement of establishment of a new tribal hostel in the valley, extension of electricity schedule by seven hours, augmentation of power infrastructure in Gurez, and provision of adequate supply of fuel and gas cylinders in Kashmir were made in violation of the guidelines, he said.

Singh said the government is issuing daily advertisements enumerating the benefits of abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, which is being encashed by the BJP.

The advertisements are being regularly published in newspapers even with the MCC in force, while the election authorities remain a "mute spectator", he sa

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