Suspicion, Jibes Over 6 AM Start

SRINAGAR — The Election Commission (EC) came under flak for its decision to change the timing of the ongoing municipal polls in Jammu and Kashmir, with National Conference  (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah questioning whether the move was aimed at keeping media at bay from covering the electrocal process.  

”Why are polling booths opening at 6 AM? If I believed conspiracy theories I’d believe it’s because journalists won’t be around to verify the genuineness of voters at that very early hour,” Omar, the former chief minister of the state, wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Taking a jibe at the EC, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senior leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar wrote, ”3rd phase could be (from) 6pm to 6am to make it completely transparent”.

Municipal elections, covering 79 local urban bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh, are being held in four phases.
A total of 3,372 nominations have been filed for 1145 wards. The next phases are scheduled to take place on October 13 and 16.

Senior journalist Inayat Jehangir said, “This is perhaps for the first time in history of Jammu and Kashmir that polling will start before daybreak. Second phase polling to kick off at 6.00 am and sunrise in Srinagar is at 6.32 am.”

“ What is the logic? @jandkgovernor @ElectionComm?” he asked on Twitter.  

Both the NC and PDP are boycotting the polls which began on October 8, alleging New Delhi’s attempts to dilute the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian Constitution.

Meanwhile, referring to the “manipulation of election timing to 6 am,” the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said “the farce of this discredited and preposterous “election” being undertaken by the authoritarian state gets more and more exposed with each passing phase.”

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