Srinagar: While the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have said they would not participate in the forthcoming local body elections in J-K, the state unit of the Congress said on Wednesday it would contest the upcoming urban local bodies and panchayat polls. However, it added that it might have to review its decision if its security concerns were not addressed by the administration. (Also read: ‘Don’t Raise Art 35A Now, Governor Tells NC, PDP)

“We cannot allow a field day to the BJP and the RSS. We will contest the local bodies and panchayat elections with full might to stop communal forces from occupying the institutions of grassroot level democracy,” state Congress chief GA Mir told reporters. He said his party had raised the security issue with the Governor’s office. “We sent three delegations to the governor right from the time NN Vohra took over the reins of the state (on June 19) to convey our concerns about the security of candidates. So far, we have not received any response from the concerned quarters on the issue,” he said. (Also read: PDP Not Competing With NC, Says Party Leader)

“If this issue is not addressed, the Congress will deliberate and discuss it. We will be within our rights to review the decision (on participation in the polls),” he added. He also said the Congress was for safeguarding Article 35-A of the Constitution. “There are sections of people in our state who have some concerns. We have discussed those concerns minutely and found that those can be addressed by the state legislature without tinkering with Article 35-A,” he said.

On the NC and the PDP boycotting the upcoming polls, Mir said they had their own issues “but secular parties have a role to play in stopping the communal forces”. He also attacked the PDP as it had ruled in alliance with the BJP and later made tall claims on issues. “When you lose power, you start dreaming,” he said referring to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s recent statements on Article 35-A.” He also hinted that there was a possibility of a “tacit” understanding between the BJP and those boycotting the elections. “It can be an understanding whereby the field is left open for BJP and RSS in this election and they (parties boycotting elections) getting a return favour later,” he said.