Democratic space being denied to people: Political parties in J&K


Srinagar, Mar 16 (PTI) Political parties in Kashmir were disappointed that Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir are not being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha election, saying a crucial democratic space is being “denied” to the people of the Union Territory by keeping the polls in a “deep freeze”.
National Conference (NC) leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said the Election Commission (EC) is unable to conduct simultaneous polls in Jammu and Kashmir even as it has acknowledged that the Assembly election is due in the Union Territory.

“So much for ‘One Nation One Election’. The EC is unable to conduct assembly polls in J and K with the general election even when they acknowledge that elections are due #GeneralElection2024,” Abdullah said in a post on X.

The EC on Saturday said the Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir will be held after the Lok Sabha polls as organising both simultaneously is not viable from the security point of view.

The NC said while it had no expectations from the EC, it was hoping against hope that common sense would prevail and the poll panel would give the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to govern themselves.

“We were not expecting anything from the EC because there was no positive vibe coming from it. We were hoping against hope that common sense will prevail and it will give people the right to govern themselves. But unfortunately, that has not happened,” NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar told PTI.

He said the EC could have conducted both the elections together and saved a lot of resources related to security and expenditure.

“The problem is that if they have so much of security paraphernalia, what stops them from holding the Assembly polls simultaneously? If this is not an opportune time to hold Assembly polls (in Jammu and Kashmir), then when is? It could have saved a lot of resources also, it could have prevented a huge expenditure,” Dar said.

He said the EC has put the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir in a “deep freeze” again.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that a crucial democratic space is being strategically denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“A crucial space in democracy is being strategically denied to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the last 10 years now. So much so that even the panchayat and municipal elections are not happening here when people are talking about conducting the parliamentary polls,” PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan said.

He said it was for the EC and other institutions to rise to the occasion and show that they are more powerful than the government.

“But unfortunately, again there has been no decision on the Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir,” Bhan said.

He alleged that these institutions have “failed” to convince the people of Jammu and Kashmir to believe in democratic processes.

“We are absolutely sorry for the kind of management and affairs that are being run today at the whims and fancies of a certain political party. We strongly object to this,” he added.

PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said Jammu and Kashmir is facing “exclusion” from the democratic process.

“Given what has been snatched from us, we did not have much expectations and we do not have much expectations even after the (Lok Sabha) election. The BJP will hold the election when it suits them,” he claimed.

Akhtar said it does not “make much of a difference to us as any new government (in Jammu and Kashmir) will not be same as the earlier governments”.

“The new government under the present scheme of things is not even a glorified municipality,” he added.

The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC), led by Sajad Lone, said while one election is being conducted, the EC should have held another one along with it.

“We were hoping that the Assembly polls would also be conducted simultaneously. They should have conducted both elections together,” JKPC spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said.

He welcomed the announcement of Lok Sabha polls, saying at least some election is taking place in Jammu and Kashmir after a gap of five years.

“We hope that the Assembly polls also take place as soon as possible,” Mir added.

Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M Y Tarigami said the EC not announcing the Assembly polls was a big disappointment.

“It is a big disappointment again for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The recent visit of the EC had generated a certain amount of hope that the polls might be held for the Assembly after a long time. But they have been deferred again by giving excuses,” he said.

arigami said when the Lok Sabha polls are being conducted in phases, security can be rationalised and a huge component of security is not required for the Assembly election.

“These are excuses which are not acceptable. Denying democracy to the people does not serve the interests of the country,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party vice-president Ghulam Hassan Mir said it seems that the EC does not want to empower the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We had a hope that the EC would make an announcement on Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. But to our disappointment, there was no mention of it. It seems that the EC does not want to empower the people here,” he said.


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