JAMMU – On the eve of the maiden Block Development Council (BDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the state unit of Congress on Wednesday accused the BJP of making a “mockery of democracy” by “forcing” the main opposition parties to stay away from the electoral exercise.
The Congress along with the main regional parties– the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party– have boycotted the BDC elections citing indifferent attitude of the state administration and continued detention of the party leaders in the valley.
“Holding of elections to BDCs at this juncture and forcing the major opposition parties to stay away from the election is betrayal with the electorates and mockery of democracy,” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.
He said this is the first such election in the history of the state and the country when only the ruling party is in the contest.
“The government went ahead with the BDC election that too on party basis without caring for the basic democratic, rich traditions and fundamental essence for elections in the country. The entire opposition leaders were detained for more than two months (in Jammu) and still most of opposition leaders in Kashmir are not permitted to move out,” he said.
Despite holding the elections on party basis, no prior consultation was held with the political parties, he said, adding no attempt was made to make the atmosphere conducive for the elections by setting the opposition leaders free.
The Congress leader said the government has arbitrarily forced these elections on the people against all basic norms of democracy by creating such an atmosphere and conditions for mainstream opposition parties so that they can stay away from the election process.
“Such kind of farce exercise has not added value to the democratic system besides it has deprived the Panchayati Raj Institutions of the full benefits of 73rd Amendments when the entire constitution of India stands applied to the state in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370,” he said.
The first-ever BDC polls will be held on Thursday and will see 1,065 candidates in the fray across 310 polling stations. There are 26,629 electors — 8,313 women and 18,316 men — for the polls to elect chairpersons of BDCs.
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