NC Puts Article 35A Rider To Poll Participation

Announces Boycott Of ULB, Panchayat Elections Pending ‘Clearance of Stand’ By GoI, ‘Present Dispensation In J&K’   

SRINAGAR — National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir’s oldest political party, on Wednesday announced to boycott the elections to urban local bodies and panchayats in the state unless the Centre clarifies its position on Article 35-A of the Constitution, which is facing challenge in the Supreme Court.

Addressing reporters here, Farooq, the incumbent member parliament from Srinagar, said that the decision to conduct election to Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats was taken in a hurried manner without taking into consideration the prevailing security situation “created by the powers that be by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35A”.

“The core group (of the party) had a detailed discussion about the situation in the state with special reference to the Article 35A of the constitution and it was felt that any tinkering with Article 35A would prove disastrous, not only for our state but for the entire country,” Farooq, the former three-time chief minister said.

“The role of the central government and present dispensation in the J&K before the Supreme Court was clearly against the wishes and aspiration of the people the state. They conveniently ignored that this provision was incorporated in the constitution after thorough discussion with that state government and government of India and was made part of the Delhi agreement 1952. It was also approved by the state constituent assembly under Article 370 of the constitution,” said Farooq who was flanked by party senior leaders including General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar and party senior leader and former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather.

“It was resolved that the National Conference would fight tooth and nail all sinister designs aimed at interfering with the constitutional guarantee in any manner whatsoever. Such attempts if allowed does strike at very basis of the relationship between the state and the union(GOI),” Farooq added.

He said recently announced Urban Local Body polls and panchayat elections came under discussion at the party’s core group meeting and it was “felt that this decision was taken in a hurried manner without taking into consideration the prevailing security situation created by the powers that be by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35A,” he said.

 “The core group unanimously decided that the National Conference will not participate in these elections unless & until, the Government of India & the state government clears its position on Article 35A and takes effective steps for the protection of Article 35 A in and outside the court.”

Last week, State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Governor SP Malik, announced that elections to Municipal Bodies will be conducted in four (4) phases with polling dates between 1st October and 5th October.

Similarly, SAC announced elections to Panchayats will be conducted in eight (8) phases with polling dates between 8 November and 4 December.

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