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news details
Time running out for Kashmir centric parties
Panchayat by-elections
2/17/2020 11:33:12 PM


JAMMU, Feb 17: The Chief Election Officer of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir sounding the bugle for panchayat by-polls is an indication that political activities on other levels will also begin soon.
The CEO’s announcement has put the Kashmir centric parties in a quandary as the by-polls for nearly 12000 halqas across J&K UT are going to be held on party basis. National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party have said that they cannot contest the polls till their top leaders are released.
Three former chief ministers—Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti—of erstwhile J&K State have been under detention since August 5 last year, when the Government of India (GoI) announced its decision to scrap the J&K’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories. Farooq was booked under Public Safety Act in September last year, while the PSA was slapped on Omar and Mehbooba recently.
An analyst while talking to Early Times said that the initial reaction of the NC and PDP is a clear hint that both the parties want to contest the Panchayat bypolls. But they want their leaders to be released first. “The leaders, whose release is being sought are the same people, who had boycotted these polls when these were announced last year. They had termed panchayat polls as a futile exercise. The then Governor of J&K, Satya Pal Malik, had knocked at the doors of Farooq, Omar and Mehbooba and had requested them to participate in the democratic process. But these leaders turned down his request and stayed away from the process.”
He said, “Today PDP and NC are alleging that the government is trying to keep them away from elections by not releasing their leaders. It seems they have forgotten that the leaders they are talking about believed in dictating terms to New Delhi and wanted to do everything in their own way. Today they are feeling the pinch as these leaders have been cut to size.”
An observer said that if Kashmir centric parties remain firm on their decision about not to contest these by-polls it will push them further into oblivion and will erode their bases further in the Valley. “Last year also many NC and PDP leaders raised a banner of revolt and participated in the panchayat and local bodies elections as independent candidates. This time there number could be more,” he added.
He said, “Time is running out for the Kashmir centric parties and they need to decide whether they want to become a history or survive.”
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