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news details
Confused NC issuing confusing statements
Kashmir wing says no to polls, Jammu leaders say “we are ready”
2/16/2020 11:27:51 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Feb 16: Confusion and chaos seems to have become the very permanent guests at the head quarters of national conference as its leaders have been speaking in contrary tunes, taking contrary stands and issuing contrary statements.
On February 13, the Election Commission (EC) announced that by-elections for over 12500 vacant Panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be conducted from March 5 to March 20.
The process is going to be the first major political exercise in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status (Article 370) and bifurcated the erstwhile State into two Union Territories—J&K and Ladakh on August 5 last year by the central government.
Now with the polls being held on party basis, various political outfits in the erstwhile state are holding continuous confabulations over the polls and about the strategy that they shall be adopting in the process.
Amongst the all political parties, what appears is that national conference is the most confusing and dumbfound in the present political set up. Its regional offices in Jammu as well as in Srinagar are speaking in two different voices, leaving people confused over whether the party intends to jump into to the fray or watch it from the bay.
Take this for instance. The National Conference spokesman from Kashmir stated that there is no point taking part in the polls when the top leadership of the party continues to be under detention after the abrogation of Article 370. "There is no point contesting the panchayat elections when the party president, vice president and general secretary are under detention," said National Conference spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar, adding "They are the ones supposed to sign the nomination papers of the contesting candidates.”
On the same day, the party from Jammu head office issued a press statement in which it declared that National Conference (NC) has decided to participate in the Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir next month but wants "roadblocks" placed in its way to be removed so that it can campaign freely. In a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar, NC central secretary Rattan Lal Gupta said the party is a strong votary of democratic process and wishes to participate in the eight-phase elections starting March 5 in over 11,000 seats. A copy of the letter has been marked to the Chief Election Commissioner.
Gupta asked the CEO to advice the party on how these roadblocks that have been placed in the way of its participation can be overcome. "If the aim is to create conditions to exclude all other parties except the BJP, then nothing more needs to be said but if the aim is to create a genuine culture of grassroots democracy, then the process adopted is a deeply flawed one," he wrote.
Meanwhile, what remains to be seen is whether the party will clear the air and make its decision public about whether it is contesting the polls or not. The sooner, the better.
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