Who Will Contest When Leaders Are Under Detention, Asks Congress, Boycotts J&K Local Body Elections

The Congress on Wednesday decided to boycott the J&K local body elections, the first after the Narendra Modi government scrapped the state’s special status, in protest against the detention of its leaders.

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Photo for representation only.

New Delhi, October 9 : The Congress on Wednesday decided to boycott the J&K local body elections, the first after the Narendra Modi government scrapped the state’s special status, in protest against the detention of its leaders.

Addressing a press conference, Ghulam Ahmad Mir of the J&k Congress said stakeholders were not taken into consideration before taking any decision on Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have never run away from elections but if an election has been called for, then where are the political parties? Who is contesting these elections… We want to contest polls… We have spoken to the Election Commission (EC) and the Centre but our leaders are still under detention. We want them to be released for campaigning but there has been no response from the government,” he said.

Mir said, “The way BDC elections have been announce is not right… procedures have been violated. A well-to-do state has been destroyed undemocratically.” The leader added, “It is clear that only one party is being facilitated…given the prevailing situation we have decided to boycott these BDC elections.”

Reacting to the development, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said: “I believe that the government has been unfair to the people of J&K… People are under difficult circumstances and have been betrayed… If my party takes a position that is expressive of this angst, any expression on what’s happening in J&K and what’s happening to Indian nationalism and Indian democracy, it is justified.”

The move, however, invited criticism from BJP ally Shiv Sena, with Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeting: “Seriously strange to see a party that is now imparting ‘lessons on nationalism’ to its office bearers is so unwilling and reluctant to participate in the BDC elections to ensure that the voices from Kashmir are heard through their BDC representatives. Well, okay then.”

Mainstream political leaders in the Valley, including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest since the government announced dilution of provisions of Article 370 over two months ago.

The state administration said last week that political leaders under house arrest in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner after proper analysis of every individual.