Art 35(A): No Party Can Get Into Panchayat Polls After NCs Boycott Decision

SRINAGAR: Insisting that after the National Conference (NC) boycott decision of the Panchayat polls, no other party will be able to throw its hat into the controversial contest, a senior PDP leader said the decision indicated the adoption of democracy by the NC within the party.

“Dr Farooq Abdullah has recognised the inner party voices and it is a good start,” Naeem Akhter, a former minister, said. “Earlier, he had said in a function that the Panchayat polls have nothing to do with politics and had almost announced participation, the same day his party general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar regretted that the governor’s administration did not consult them before announcing the polls.”

Earlier, Akhter said, the NC’s party leadership would take a decision on the personal basis and that, at one point of time, led to the expulsion of veteran party leader Prof Said ud Din Soz. “This decision on Panchayat polls is democratic in nature because the leadership heard the voices within the party,” he said.

Akhter, who insisted, he is speaking in a personal capacity, said the decision is important and major and will now prevent any small or big stakeholder to get into this exercise, obviously because of the situation on the ground. “The decision also started an inter-party competition,” he admitted.

PDP has not taken any stand on the issue so far. Earlier in the day, PDP spokesman said the NC decision spoke about the prevailing ground situation. He said the party will take a call on this soon. The party may meet to discuss it once its president Mehbooba Mufti flies back home. She is touring various Jammu districts.

“Obviously in the new situation, the party’s political affairs committee and the leadership will have to take a call on this,” Akhter said. Personally, I believe in absence of two main contestants – the NC and the PDP, the exercise will lack credibility. It cannot be a one-horse race.”

Akhter said Delhi stands caught in the web it created around her. Without taking a stand on the Article 35(A) in the Supreme Court, the government continued pleading that adjournment was vital because it would impact the preparations for the local body polls. The entire narrative, he said, was around Rs 4000 crore that will get blocked to the Jammu and Kashmir government if the local polls are not held. “Is Kashmir all about Rs 4000 crore?” he asked.

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