Poll Panel Clears Akbar Lone Of Pro-Pak Slogans Allegation

JAMMU — Allegations that National Conference candidate Akbar Lone raised pro-Pakistan slogans are “incorrect”, Jammu and Kashmir’s chief electoral officer said on Thursday after an inquiry conducted by the poll panel.

Senior BJP leaders and its allies had been claiming that Lone, NC candidate from North Kashmir, had raised pro-Pakistan slogans during a rally, and also asked the Congress to justify its alliance with the National Conference.

Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar was also asked whether the statements of former chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah about the complete restoration of autonomy which includes the state having its own prime minister and that of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks on ‘relation of JK with India to end’ if Article 370 or 35-A are tampered with “qualify as a complaint”.

“If we get a specific complaint, we will look into it,” the CEO said told PTI.

On a question related to Lone, Kumar said an assistant returning officer had issued a notice to Lone, seeking explanation about his purported slogans.

“I guess it was reported about Akbar Lone that he has said something… Then an internal inquiry was held and it found that the allegations which appeared in newspapers were incorrect”, Kumar said.

He said it was not a video of any election rally but an old video, in which he was referring to an incident in the state assembly.

On Monday, Abdullah said his party would not allow an attack on Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and would seek restoration of terms of accession of the state, including the provision for ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ (president) and prime minister posts.

On Wednesday, Mufti said the relation of Jammu and Kashmir with India will end if the terms and conditions of the state’s accession to the Union were changed.

“2020 will also be a deadline from Jammu and Kashmir to the nation. If you remove those terms and conditions on which Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, our relation with the country will also end,” She had told reporters after filing her nomination papers from the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.

The remarks of Abdullah and Mufti had made headlines, triggering controversies after which BJP and other parties hit out at them for being “pro-separatists”.

The CEO was asked about the complaints of various political parties about the withdrawal of security to its leaders by the governor administration.

He said an information regarding withdrawal of security to politicians has been sent to the Election Commission.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has to seek the approval of the CEO with regard to withdrawal of security and accommodation to political leaders during the elections as the model code of conduct is in place.

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