BJP, Congress, Panthers Contesting BDC Polls  

SRINAGAR: With most of Kashmir political class in jail, the BJP and the Congress are unlikely to miss the BDC polls that are slated to take place on October 24.

BJP state president Ravinder Raina announced it will contest 280 of 316 seats across the state and leave 36 to the like-minded candidates, BJP state president.

The Congress already said that it will deny BJP, a walkover in BDC polls. “Despite our strong reservations over measures being adopted by the ruling BJP to gag the voice of the Opposition, the Congress has decided to contest the BDC elections to strengthen democracy in J&K,” Congress spokesman Ravinder Sharma told The Tribune. “We will not give walkover to the BJP, so the party has decided to contest polls despite the fact that the situation is not conducive for the same.”

The BDC polls for which the state government has even changed certain rules is facing a credibility issues as reports suggest that over 90 per cent voters in three districts of south Kashmir are missing. Given the boycott by NC and PDP, almost 64 per cent posts of sarpanch and panch – the electoral college for the BDC elections – are vacant in Kashmir.

In Pulwama district, there are only 132 votes available against 1710 – 92.3 per cent berths vacant. Against 889 votes in Shopian district, only 82 are available. Similarly in Kulgam, there are only 168 votes against 1514. Overall, against 19758 votes from Kashmir’s blocks, the net voter availability is only 7029, reports said.

The government is also facing music for holding these polls on party basis when the electoral college was elected in a non-party poll. This, the opposition says, is aimed by helping BJP control the developmental tier across the state.

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