Indian National Congress on Saturday confessed that the Kashmir elections which happened in 1987 were rigged.
As the incumbent Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti, secured Islamabad seat with decisive, 62% vote share, five of her seven opponents left the counting hall only during first round of counting.
Indian National Congress accused that ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) repeated “1987 in Islamabad”.
Congress had fielded Hilal Ahmad Shah against Ms Mufti. The assembly segment fell vacant on January 07 this year when former CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died in AIIMS New Delhi.
As the first round of EVM counting began following the disclosure of postal votes, outcry started rebounding from the counting hall. Soon after Congress candidate along with his counting agents came out amid uproar against the administration. The Congress candidate alleged that EVM was found with broken seal.
Notably, the 1987 elections Congress referred to, is an infamous election in which allegation of rampant poll rigging was accused by then Muslim United Front.
The allegations were levelled against National Conference and Indian National Congress which had tied a pre-poll alliance. And as the results were declared, Dr Farooq Abdullah formed government with Congress.
“When we resisted and asked District election officer to put the machine on side, he broke the other seals. When we protested against this he threatened us with PSA,” Hilal Ahmad Shah alleged in a press conference here.
Within half an hour of counting, Shah staged protest on the main road outside Government Degree College Khanabal, where counting hall was situated.
He was soon joined by other five candidates, including NC’s Iftikhar Hussain Misgar and three independent candidates, Manzoor Ahmad Khan, Mushtaq Ahmad and Chief agent of Masroor Ahmad.
During whole counting process, counting agents of these parties remained out of counting hall and staged protest in the lawns of Degree college Khanbal throughout till the counting reached to end.
“This is murder of democracy in broad day light. If the PDP-BJP Government had planned the elections results earlier, what was the fun of conducting the polls,” NC’s Misgar asked.
As the results were declared by noon, Ms Mehbooba Mufti was declared winning candidate, with margin of 12086 votes, securing 62% (17698) votes.
The Congress candidate secured 19.7% (5615), NC 9.8% (2811) and others with 7.3% (2089) to others including 1.27% (364) Votes to NOTA.
Ms Mehbooba secured 715 votes more than what her father late Mufti Mohammad Sayed had secured in 2014 elections.
Vote share of Congress candidate Hilal Ahmad Shah dipped by 5340 votes and NC’s Iftikhar Misgar secured 408 more votes than last election held.
Soon after the declaration of the final result, the five candidates who boycotted the counting process called a joint press conference.
Speaking to media, Hilal Shah of Congress alleged administration and government of tempering with EVMs.
He said, “This is like the situation of 1987 when people were deceived.” “PDP government repeated 1987 (elections).”
“The signatures on the EVMs didn’t match with the signatures found at the counting hall, the matter is not only of seal breaking,” he said.
The five candidates have jointly filed complaint on these charges before the returning officer.
Hilal said, “if justice is not delivered to us, faith of Kashmiris on Indian constitution will break and they will never participate in elections.”
While alleging the ruling PDP-BJP, of using government machinery to secure the seat for CM, National Conference’s Iftikhar Misgar said, “they earlier postponed the election to get proper time and manipulate the elections.”
“They used administration and their government that is why they secured the seat; we will go on hunger strike if a fresh election is not conducted,” he threatened.
Warning the Election Commission, Iftikhar said, “this will be last time people will vote if justice is not delivered.”
While reacting to queries from press, Congress’ Hilal Shah termed the 1987 elections as rigged and attributed this election to same procedure.