Omar, Mehbooba boycotted panchayat polls under Pakistan’s pressure: Satya Pal Malik

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SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday said that National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti had refused to take part in panchayat elections in J&K under Pakistan’s pressure.

Malik said he broke protocol and went to both the leaders after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that panchayat elections will be held in the Union Territory. However, the two former chief ministers had boycotted due to pressure from Pakistan. “Militants also threatened yet elections were held successfully,” he added.

The 2018 polls to the local bodies had witnessed poor participation with two major regional political parties – the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – boycotting it. Worth mentioning that it was before the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into union territories in August last year.

Commenting on recent attacks on the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Malik said during his tenure as governor people felt comfortable and the anger was low.

“When I was the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, I opened the Raj Bhavan for everyone. All my advisors were tasked to hear people’s complaints once a week. 95,000 complaints were received by my office, I resolved 93,000 of them before coming to Goa. People felt comfortable because of this, they felt it was their government. Thus, anger was low,” Malik told news agency ANI.

Malik also highlighted that he focused on the ‘outreach and development programme’ in Jammu and Kashmir during his tenure as governor.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed us to work on outreach and development. I worked in both directions. We opened 52-degree colleges, 8 medical colleges, and 282 junior schools turned into higher senior secondary school within a year. This way, in the health sector and other areas, we took a loan of Rs 8,000 crore from banks and completed all the work. Work on two dams which was pending for 40 years was restarted. That will be completed soon,” news agency ANI quoted Malik as saying.

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