Mehbooba puts foot in Farooq Abdullah’s shoe, announces ULB election boycott

Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti addressing media persons in Srinagar on Tuesday. (UNI Photo)

Srinagar, Sep 11 (Only Kashmir): Putting her foot in National Conference patron Farooq Abdulla’s shoe, the erstwhile Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Monday announced to boycott the forthcoming urban local body and panchayat polls and sought the central government’s commitment in safeguarding constitutional provisions for Jammu and Kashmir.
The PDP, which till recently was an ally of the BJP, announced that it will boycott forthcoming polls, saying the security situation was not conducive for holding these polls.
The PDP’s decision to boycott local body elections comes days after its arch-rival, the National Conference, announced not to contest the polls until the Centre and the governor administration clarify its position on Article 35-A, which gives special rights to the people in the state and bars outsiders from owning immovable property.

“The PDP has been conducting deliberations over local body elections. The present situation is very fragile and sensitive. Unfortunately, the atmosphere has been vitiated because of the linking of Article 35A,” she said.
Reading from the resolution, Mufti said the PDP has noted with concern that the situation created by linking local body elections to the case pending in the Supreme Court regarding Article 35A has led to serious apprehensions in the minds of people who genuinely see it as an “assault” on the special constitutional provisions of the state.
Earlier, the NC on September 5 decided to stay away from panchayat and urban local body elections, saying the decision to hold the polls was taken in a “hurried” manner without taking into considerations the prevailing situation “created by the powers that be, by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35-A”.

The Supreme Court had on August 31 deferred the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, as the Centre had urged the court to take up the matter after panchayat elections in the state.
An unfazed administration of Jammu and Kashmir, which is at present under Governor’s rule, said the polls will be held and the decision to hold these elections was taken in July.
Meanwhile, state Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said Monday, “Panchayat and local bodies polls are on. The decision was taken in July.” (OK)