Kashmir Parties Dismayed Over Delay In Assembly Polls


SRINAGAR — Most of the political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday expressed dismay over the statement of Union Home minister Amit Shah on the question of conducting assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, with National Conference saying the “inordinate delay” in holding the polls in the state was synonymous with “scuttling” federalism in the country.

 It said the people are yearning for a stable government which could protect the identity and territorial integrity of the state.

“The central government led by BJP is persistent on ruling the state from the Centre. The move will prove detrimental to the structure of federalism in the country. The inordinate delay in holding assembly elections in the state is synonymous with scuttling federalism in the country,” NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said addressing a series of workers’ conventions at Rafiabad and Baramulla.

The NC leader said on one hand, the Home minister minced no words to accentuate the peaceful conduct of urban local bodies and panchayat polls and Parliament elections in the state, but on the other hand, he is “denying” a representative government to the state.

“We heard the Home minister necessitating on the need of strengthening grass root level democracy in the state. How can the dream possibly be achieved by delaying the assembly elections? The measure is fraught with undue politicking,” Sagar said.

The NC general secretary said any further delay in having an elected representative government in the state would “further increase the gap between the government and the people”.

“The youth of the state in particular stands disenfranchised due to the imprudent policies of the previous BJP-PDP government. The incumbent governor administration is proving equally inefficient. The absence of an elected government in the state has put the identity and integrity of the state on peril.

“Above and beyond, the development has been the prime causality as a consequence of election delay in the state,” he said.

on the occasion, NC provincial president, Kashmir, Nasir Aslam Wani said Article 370 of the Constitution was “a solemn pledge of the constituent assembly of India to the state”.

“If Article 370 is temporary, then the very edifice built on it is impermanent. The sordid assertions like these aiming at obliterating the identity will add to the disenchantment in the youth. The need of the hour is to strengthen Article 370 and Article 35-A,” Wani said, reacting to Shah’s statement over the issue in Parliament on Friday.

Shah had on Friday said assembly elections in the state will be held in a democratic, free and fair manner as soon as the Election Commission announces the dates.

He had moved a statutory resolution in the Lok Sabha to extend President’s Rule in the state for another six months with effect from July 3, which was passed by the House.

Shah had also said Article 370 of the Constitution, which extends special status to Jammu and Kashmir, is “temporary in nature” and “not permanent”.

Wani said the main objective of the NC is to strive towards restoration of pre-1953 situation in the state.

“Ours is the only party that has already put forth vision towards solving the protracted issue of J&K. it is the restoration of autonomy that will clean the cob webs of mistrust between the Centre and the state. The need of the hour calls for making aggressive efforts towards increasing the prospects of peace and prosperity in the state,” he said.

PDP vice President Abdul Rehman Veeri said that people need elected government which responds to their grievances.

 “It is good that elections are held in the state but delaying them doesn’t augur well for the people and democracy,” Veeri told a local news agency. 

Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that BJP government was neglecting people in giving them their elected representatives.

 “Home Minister’s reasons for delaying elections in the state are illogical. However, holding elections within six months of the president’s rule in the state is a good indication, delaying them further will not be good for the people of the state,” he said

Alienation Will Deepen in Kashmir: CPI (M) 

The CPI(M) on Saturday demanded an early assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir and alleged that Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s comments in the Lok Sabha a day ago regarding the state were “provocative” and would alienate the people further.

The Left party said if the conditions were conducive for holding the Lok Sabha election in the state, there was no reason to believe that the same situation prohibit holding the assembly election.

“The Union Home Minister’s intervention in Parliament while moving the extension of President’s Rule for another six months in Jammu & Kashmir was provocative leading to further alienation of the people of the state,” the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said in a statement.

“This is not healthy for India’s unity and integrity. Alienation only feeds growth of terrorism, which the country is unitedly determined to defeat,” it added.

Shah had said on Friday that Article 370 of the Constitution, which provides for special status to the state, was “temporary in nature” and “not permanent”.

“All political parties in the state have asked for immediate election to the Assembly and opined that this is the best way to draw in the people of Kashmir into the democratic process,” the CPI(M) said.

For the first time in India’s history, the Left party said, a Union home minister did not meet the political parties during a visit to the state.

The party pointed out that Shah had asserted it was only Jammu and Kashmir among all the states that has a special provision contained in Article 370 of the Constitution.

This, the CPI(M) said, was a “travesty” of the constitutional provisions.

“The Constitution provides special provisions for the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana), Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa [Articles 371, 371 (A) to (I)],” it said.

The party demanded that the central government start a process of political dialogue with all the stakeholders and undertake confidence-building measures.

“These, along with early elections to (the) J&K Assembly, will be the most appropriate manner to remove the current deepening alienation among the people of J&K,” it added.

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