Omar Abdullah asks EC to spell out factors delaying Jammu and Kashmir polls

National Conference’s victory in the Kargil hill council polls would only ‘further delay elections’, Omar Abdullah predicts

Updated - October 09, 2023 08:11 pm IST

Published - October 09, 2023 05:54 pm IST - Srinagar

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah addressing a press conference in Srinagar on October 9, 2023

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah addressing a press conference in Srinagar on October 9, 2023 | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

The National Conference (NC) on Monday questioned the Election Commission (EC) decision to delay elections in J&K, as the party described the Kargil hill council results as “a verdict against the Centre’s move made on August 5, 2019 to bifurcate J&K”.

“The ECI, when questioned about J&K elections, suggested it was “considering all factors”. What are the factors? It’s the fear factor of the BJP. It’s unfortunate, the ECI, which is a free and independent body, is taking decisions at the behest of the BJP. The ECI has no plausible reasons not to hold elections in J&K,” NC vice president Omar Abdullah said.

Also Read |Why elections being delayed in Jammu and Kashmir, asks Farooq Abdullah

The former J&K Chief Minister asked the EC to spell out the factors for not holding elections in J&K. “We need to know the factors denying people of J&K their democratic right to have an elected government. Earlier, the ECI recognised there was a vacuum that needed to be filled. Is the situation so bad that elections can’t be conducted? But the Government of India across the world is telling the story that J&K is peaceful and tourists in thousands are coming,” he said.

On the NC winning the majority of seats in the 26-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council-Kargil on Sunday, Mr. Abdullah said, “It was proven with the Kargil verdict that J&K’s bifurcation was disliked as much in Kashmir as in Jammu and Ladakh. The truth is that these polls were not for development but against the Government of India’s actions on August 5, 2019. Kargil made it clear with its vote that people are not with it,” he said.

He said the NC victory is likely to “further delay elections” in J&K. “Leave aside the Assembly elections, the government is not holding panchayat and urban local bodies elections. It was clear after the reports about Union Home minister Amit Shah’s meeting in New Delhi. It would not allow even the Lok Sabha polls in J&K,” he said.

Meanwhile, several parties that are a part of the Peoples Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration have asked the Centre to read the writing on the wall.

Also Read | Election Commission should tell people why no elections in Jammu and Kashmir: Omar Abdullah

“Heartening to see secular parties like NC and Congress register their victory in Kargil. It’s the first election post 2019 and the people of Ladakh have spoken,” Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said.

Senior CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami termed the NC-Congress’s performance “stellar”. “The performance has exposed in no uncertain terms the BJP’s false narrative of development following the abrogation of Article 370 and split of J&K. The people of Ladakh have already voiced their disconnect and displeasure over the policies of current dispensation towards the region,” he said.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Monga said the poll verdict reflected the people’s overwhelming support for the INDIA bloc and the resentment against the hateful and ‘divide and rule’ politics of BJP.

“The resounding victory of INDIA (alliance) candidates should work as an eye opener for the BJP, which has victimised and demeaned people of J&K and Ladakh to serve its agenda,” he said.

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