After NC, PDP to boycott municipal and Panchayat polls

After NC, PDP to boycott municipal and Panchayat polls
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Srinagar: The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday announced a boycott of the upcoming municipal and Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the government to review its decision to hold elections amid an atmosphere of insecurity.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said there was a sense of insecurity among the people of the state with the “sword of Article 35A dangling on our heads”. She said the party had unanimously decided to stay away from the electoral exercise.

“The party urges the government to review its decision to hold local body elections at this time against the will of the people and instead focus on confidence-building measures,” the former Chief Minister told reporters here after meeting her party leaders and MLAs.

“Our Party will not contest the polls as the prevailing situation is not favourable for such an exercise.

“The government is not keen on defending 35-A and insecurity has crept in the population. The party therefore urges the government to review its decision to hold polls at this time”.

A dissident PDP MLA, Javaid Beigh, who represents Baramulla Assembly, was present at the meeting chaired by Mehbooba Mufti.

But five other PDP MLAs including Haseeb Drabu, Imran Ansari, Abid Ansari, Abdul Majeed Padder and Abbas Wani did not attend the meeting.

The National Conference has already announced a boycott of the elections.

Governor Satya Pal Malik has announced that the elections to urban local bodies in the state will be held between October 1 and 5 and to the Panchayats between November 8 and December 4.

Article 35A of the Constitution prohibits outsiders from owning land and property in Jammu and Kashmir.