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BJP pushes for J&K local polls

first_imgThe Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday pushed for elections to panchayats and urban local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir as scheduled with Governor Satya Pal Malik, even as the two main regional parties, the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have decided to stay away from the polls. A Congress delegation led by its State president G.A. Mir also met the Governor “to convey its concern.”BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, who arrived in Srinagar on Tuesday, met Governor Malik at the Raj Bhavan. Sources said the two discussed “ways and means” to hold the elections as per schedule.A Raj Bhavan spokesman said Mr. Madhav shared his party’s views about the elections. Mr. Madhav also held a meeting with party leaders in Srinagar “for a first hand account on the ground situation”. Sources said he directed the party workers to “prepare for the upcoming elections”.In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the much-awaited elections for panchayats would be held in eight phases in November this year. These elections have been deferred on several occasions due to the unfavourable atmosphere since 2015.The process was hit again as both the NC and the PDP opposed holding the elections at this juncture. The parties have asked the Centre to clear its stand on Article 35A, which defines State subject laws and was challenged before the Supreme Court through several petitions, and dispel the apprehensions over its revocation. They have termed the ground situation “unfavourable for any election process as of now”.Congress unlikely to boycottMeanwhile, a delegation of Congress headed by its state president G.A. Mir also met Governor Satya Pal Malik. The Governor, during the meeting, emphasized the importance of empowerment of people through establishment of local self-governing institutions that will strengthen democratic framework at the grassroot level and ensure direct participation of people in the development programmes of their villages and towns, said the Raj Bhawan spokesman.“We held several round of meetings on Tuesday over the issue. We are moving cautiously over the issue and the final announcement will be made on Wednesday. The stand taken by the NC and the PDP is hypocritical. If the PDP was so worried about the special position, why didn’t Ms. Mufti resign over it when she shared power with the BJP,” Mr. Mir told The Hindu.The Congress hinted that it will participate. “We do not want the BJP to get a free field to win the elections,” said Mr. Mir.last_img

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