PAGD Writes To SEC, Complains Its Candidates Not Allowed To Campaign

KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

Security being used as a pretext to impede and customize democracy in J&K, Says Farooq Abdullah

Srinagar- The Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has written to Jammu & Kashmir’s State Election Commissioner K.K. Sharma to complain that the candidates put by seven-party conglomerate are not allowed to campaign.

In letter to Chief Election Commissioner K K Sharma, the president of PAGD Farooq Abdullah said that a strange and a unique feature has come to the fore whereby candidates put up by the PAGD are immediately whisked away to “secure locations” in the name of security and confined to those “secure locations”.

“They are not allowed to canvass, they are completely out of touch with those from whom they are supposed to seek votes,” reads the letter circulated by the PAGD.

“Our parties have been in power in the past and have had the opportunity to head and run the government. We are aware of the challenges posed in the realm of security in a place beset by violence. These challenges are not new but have been painfully persisting for the last three decades,” the letter reads, adding, “But the government had structures in place which ensured security for all contestants irrespective of the ideology they espoused or the parties they represented.”

The current state of affairs in the realm of security is blatantly oriented towards providing security to a select few and confining others, the PAGD said.

“This comes across more as an attempt to interfere in the democratic process than any real concern for the wellbeing of the contestants,” it said, adding, “Security cannot and should not be used as a tool or an excuse to interfere in democratic processes.”

The PAGD said that evolution of democracy in J&K is distinctive compared to any other part of the country. “The journey is a bloodied journey, soaked in the blood of thousands of political workers who have laid down their lives for the sake of democracy. It is a desecration of those sacrifices when the very conflict that consumed their lives is use as an alibi to customize democracy,” it said, adding, “Democracy is still in a state of fragility in J&K. Governments come and go.”

It said no government has the right to alter the institutional foundations of democracy in J&K, nourished by the sacrifices of thousands of political workers.

The PAGD’s letter to the State Election Commissioner comes in the backdrop of allegations of major political parties in the valley, including the NC and the PDP, of not having a level-playing field for the elections. The parties have accused the administration of locking up their candidates in accommodations at several places and not allowing them to campaign.

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