New Delhi: The PDP reiterated on Monday its stand that would not be participating in the forthcoming panchayat and urban local body elections in J-K. Former chief minister of the state and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday, “This situation linking panchayat polls to Article 35A case in the Supreme Court has created apprehensions in minds of people. The party, therefore, urges the Government to review its decision to hold polls at this juncture.” She said after analysing the situation, the PDP had decided to give the poll process a miss.
Last week, the National Conference had decided to boycott the elections unless the Centre clarified its position on Article 35 A of the Constitution. The validity of Article 35A of the Constitution, which accords a slew of rights and privileges to the “permanent residents” of the state, has been challenged in the Supreme Court. (Also read: PDP Says Party Not Competing With NC in Local Body Elections)
Farooq Abdullah had told reporters, “The core group unanimously decided that the National Conference will not participate in these elections unless and until the government of India and the state government clear their position in this regard and take effective steps for protection of Article 35A in and outside the courts.” Jammu and Kashmir is currently under the Governor’s rule. “They conveniently ignore that this provision was incorporated in the Constitution after thorough discussion between the then state government and the Government of India and was made part of the Delhi Agreement 1952,” he said, adding that “it was also approved by the state’s constituent assembly as envisaged under Article 370 of the Constitution”.
Later, the PDP was also reported to have said that it would take a final decision only after ‘wider consultations’. However, sources close to the party has claimed that PDP leaders were in favour of a boycott. Speaking to media after the party’s core group meeting last week, PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir had said, “We have some reservations. We have already said the government has mixed Article 35 A with elections. There are apprehensions in the Valley that the government would tinker with Article 35 A after the election is over. We don’t want to see our people disturbed.”