The decision of the Government to go ahead with Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies elections despite the majority of mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir deciding not to participate in these polls shows the arrogance of the BJP-led Central Government.
The spokesman said that representatives of mainstream political parties had raised some issues, including linking of these elections by both the Central and State governments with the plea in Supreme Court on the issue of Article 35A and the special status of the state. It was wrong on behalf of the Government to use polls as a reason to seek deferment of Article 35A in the SC. The mainstream political parties had also urged the Center’s to clear its stand over Article 35A before announcing ULB and Panchayat elections.
The political parties in the state were also demanding the shifting of additional solicitor general of India Tushar Mehta from Article 35A case in the Supreme Court, as during the hearing on the case in the apex court on August 31, Mehta, who represents the state, crossed his brief. They have also demanded that till the elected government is formed in the state, the proceedings in the apex court regarding Article 35A should be deferred.
Also, the prevailing situation in Kashmir was a reason for mainstream parties to seek deferment of the polls. CPI (M) had always been demanding to hold dialogue with voices of dissent in the state. But now the situation has reached a stage, where even the suggestions of mainstream political parties are being ignored. There are voices emerging in Kashmir that when the Center is not ready to deal with mainstream leaders how can they talk to voices of dissent. By such tactics who is gaining?
However, despite this, the Government went ahead and announced the poll schedule. This shows the arrogance of the Centre. Rather than being adamant on holding the polls in the current atmosphere it would have been better for the Government to assure the people of the state that it was serious in defending the Article 35A in the Supreme Court.
The stand of CPI(M) has always been to empower grass-roots institutions. The democratic institutions of public importance need to be strengthened.
More important, the participation of people in the elections to strengthen these institutions is a must. On the ground, the situation is such that participation of people is doubtful. The government should have convened an all-party meeting to discuss this issue, unfortunately, that has not been done.
Keeping the prevailing situation in consideration, the CPI (M) has decided not to participate in these polls.