THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 11 MARCH, 2019
EC Decision Not to Hold Assembly Polls in J&K Points to ‘Failure’ of Govt Policy
#TCVotes "Shows how badly the BJP & earlier the BJP-PDP mishandled J&K” Says Omar Abdullah
SRINAGAR: With the country going to polls from April 11, the Election Commission of India’s decision to delay the Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls is being seen here as subtle admission of the failure of BJP-led Centre’s ‘militaristic policy’ in the volatile state.
Even though the Centre has launched a sweeping crackdown on militants as well as separatists over the past few years, the situation in the Valley continues to remain on the boil, especially in the aftermath of arrest of JKLF chief Yasin Malik and summoning of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq by NIA .
The acknowledgement of the worsening Kashmir situation was made by the Chief Election Commission Sunil Arora himself during a press conference yesterday when he said that there is requirement of “large number of security personnel to be deployed for protection of every candidate.”
“You cannot disregard recent events. EC cannot be non-cognisant of situation on ground and the feedback of the state administration. Security of candidate was a categorical demand from all political parties. However, the availability of security forces is a constraint,” he said.
“We will have to carry out three phases of election for just one constituency of Anantnag... so you can imagine how complicated it is,” he said. Anantnag Lok Sabha seat is lying vacant and elections to the seat were delayed on at least two times due to deteriorating security situation.
A high-profile team of the commission held a series of one-on-one meetings in Srinagar with the regional parties as well as the civil and police administration of Jammu and Kashmir last week. Although all the parties had urged the commission to hold general and state assembly polls together, they had raised concerns over the security situation.
Sources said the police administration of Jammu and Kashmir was also not in favour of holding the two elections together, “Lok Sabha elections generally records low voter turnout in J&K and it will have a drag-down effect on the state assembly polls which we can’t afford at this time,” a senior officer in state’s election commission said.
Reacting to the EC’s decision, former chief minister Omar Abdullah accused the Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “surrendering” before the BJP government. He said Lok Sabha elections and the assembly elections were held on schedule "even after the most devastating floods" in 2014.
"Shows how badly the BJP & earlier the BJP-PDP mishandled J&K," Omar Abdullah tweeted. "With the amount of international attention elections in J&K attract I never thought PM Modi would be willing to confess his failure on a global stage but we all make mistakes & that was mine."
“In light of the failure to conduct assembly elections on time in J&K I’m retweeting my tweets from a few days ago. PM Modi has surrendered to Pakistan, to the militants & to the Hurriyat. Well done Modi Sahib. 56 inch chest failed. #slowclap,” the NC vice-president wrote on Twitter.
“What happened to (Union Home Minister) @rajnathsingh’s assurance to Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha as well as to the all party meeting recently in Delhi that all forces would be made available for simultaneous polls?” he said.
He said it was a golden chance for the Centre to hold assembly elections to give an elected government to the people, as all political parties favoured simultaneously elections in the state. But, the Centre has once again failed to hold assembly elections citing volatile situation as the reason which is indicative of utter failure of the Centre to respect the urges and aspirations of the people, he said.
Meanwhile, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti accused the Centre of pushing its “ulterior agenda” on Kashmir by delaying the state assembly polls, “Decision to hold only Parliamentary elections in J&K confirms sinister designs of GoI. Not letting people elect a government is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. Also a tactic of buying time to disempower people by pushing an agenda that suits their ulterior motives,” she said on Twitter.
Jammu and Kashmir is under Governor's Rule after the BJP pulled out of the ruling alliance with Mehbooba’s People's Democratic Party. After Malik took over the reins of the state, a number of ‘controversial’ decisions have raised questions about his ‘impartiality’ in handling the sensitive border state.