Demand freeing detained politicians, holding polls on non-party basis
The representatives of the three major political parties – National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress - Tuesday met Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and demanded the release of detained politicians before ensuring their participation in the upcoming Panchayat by-polls.
The parties also demanded that the polls should be held on non-party basis.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, Congress President Ghulam Ahmad Mir said in the meeting Congress put two demands before the ECI before making sure their participation in the polls.
"First and foremost calling a meeting after the announcement of polls doesn't make any sense. This exercise should have been carried earlier," Mir said. "Despite that we asked the ECI to either make these polls non-party basis or release all the detained politicians so that it can be fought on party basis."
Mir said Congress would not participate in the polls unless these two demands are met.
“There is no point participating in the polls when you are not being provided the basic facility to carry out your democratic right,” he said.
More than six months after Government of India (GoI) abrogated Article 370 from Jammu Kashmir, the Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar Thursday announced that by-polls for over 12,500 vacant panch and sarpanch seats in the region would be held in eight phases from March 5 to March 20.
This will be the first major political exercise in Jammu Kashmir after GoI abrogated Article 370 of the constitution, which granted special status to the region and bifurcated the erstwhile State into two UTs - Jammu Kashmir, and Ladakh.
NC Provincial President Jammu, Divendar Singh Rana said they had put forth the same demands before the ECI as was given in written to the EC on February 15.
"As we have stated in the letter we believe in the democratic process, but it is practically impossible for the party to participate in elections when the top leadership is under detention," Singh said.
Singh referring to the letter said they had asked the EC to explain to them how NC could participate in the polls when many roadblocks had been placed in their way.
PDP representative Shailendra Choudhary also echoed the same concerns before ensuring their party's participation in the polls.