PDP Alleges Police Coercion In SMC Elections

NC Wants Mayor Polls Deferred, Cite MCC Violation

Srinagar: A day after Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) issued notification for conduct of Mayoral elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti on Friday accused police of harassing her party worker and sought explanation from Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha over the “new norm of elections” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to popular micro-blogging website Twitter, Mehbooba alleged that her party leader Rouf Bhaat was harassed by police and told to remain in their custody from morning till evening till the SMC elections are over.

“RoufBhaat was summoned to Shergarhi police station today. He was asked to report everyday & ensure he stays from 8am- 8pm till SMC elections are over. As usual ‘upar say order’ is the justification. @manojsinha_ji is this going to be the new norm for elections in J&K?,” Mehbooba Tweeted.

However, police quickly took to its official Twitter handle to refute the allegations leveled by PDP Chief.

In a brief statement put out on its official Twitter handle, a police spokesperson said that police calls calls released militants and OGWs to Police Stations to update their profiles.

“RoufBhaat was also called to the PS for updation of his personal profile, as he was associated with HM outfit,” the police spokesperson Tweeted.

Meanwhile, two National Conference (NC) candidates contesting bye-elections on Friday sought deferment of Mayor elections citing violation of model code of conduct (MCC) in place.

The NC contesting candidates in SMC elections on Friday filed a complaint challenging the issuance of notification for the conduct of elections to the post of Mayor by Secretary SMC, a party spokesperson said. He said that the candidates Nuzhat Ara and Ali Muhammad Magray termed the SMC move a gross violation of the Model code of Conduct and wrote to officials responsible for the adherence of the MCC, asking them to take cognizance of the issue.

The NC spokesperson said that two two candidates running for the post of councilors from various wards in the upcoming bye-elections in a written complaint to Chief Electoral Officer (J&K), and District electoral officer ,Srinagar  said that the holding of a meeting of councilors for the purpose of electing the mayor, while the bye-elections  are about to commence was a manifest violation of the MCC in place for the bye-elections to various wards of municipality in Srinagar.

According to the NC spokesperson, the candidates in their complaint said the adherence to model code of conduct during the upcoming municipal by-elections should be ensured.

He said that the applicants brought to their notice that similar provisions were also in vogue elsewhere in the country and that it was clear that while the elections for the council or urban local body are announced and the model code of conduct was in force , an embargo was placed on any meeting of the council or urban local body save and except for the meeting held for relief measures, and that the said embargo would apply with greater force to the meeting wherein by an indirect election the mayor of the  very corporation’s whose bye-elections are underway.

“The present indirect election of the mayor election that is slated to be held on the 25.11.2020 with not only entail the meeting of councilors and corporation but the outcome of the election, if not deferred, would unfairly prejudice the contesting candidates and the candidates seen in close proximity to the winning mayoral candidate would get unfair advantage thereby altering the level playing field as available to the contesting candidates,” the complaint letter reads, as per NC spokesperson.

The two NC candidates, he said urged concerned to take action including deferment of the election to the post of Mayor of SMC ordered vice notification dated no SMC/CS/5027-5116 dated 19.11.2020 being in clear violation of the model code of conduct, till such time results of the bye-elections are declared.

“As a failure to pass appropriate directions deferring the impugned elections within a period of 24 hours from the date of receipt of this complaint would compel the claimants to take to appropriate legal remedy as may be available,” the complaint reads.

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