Mehbooba Files Nomination for Anantnag Bypoll
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti filed her nomination papers for bypoll to Anantnag assembly segment in Kashmir Valley, which fell vacant following the demise of her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
According to a J&K government spokesperson, nine candidates including the mercurial independent legislator from Langate constituency in Kupwara, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, along with six independent candidates, filed their nomination papers before the Returning Officer on Wednesday.
In the run up to the bypoll, which was initially scheduled on May 16, Mehbooba Mufti-led government had approached the Election Commission of India in April, seeking deferment of polls over fears of "law and order" problems in the Valley.
During the second week of April, five civilians, including an elderly woman tending to vegetable garden, were killed after rumours of a local girl student's molestation in Handwara town by an Army man gained currency in Kupwara district, sparking violent protests.
The chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, BR Sharma, and Director General of J&K Police, K Rajendra, had informed the commission that the law and order situation was “not conducive” for polls after which the commission announced onApril 22 to defer the polls by over a month.
However, the Opposition alleged that the PDP was fearing defeat in the polls after their alliance with the Hindu rightwing BJP dealt a blow to the party's popularity in the Valley. The J&K Congress chief, Ghulam Ahmad Mir accused the Chief Minister of "misusing" her position to influence the Election Commission in deferring the polls.
"I want to ask the PDP and the Chief Minister of the State, is present situation - especially what emerged after Handwara killings- worse than what we saw in 2008 agitation and after deluge hit the Valley,” Mir had asked.
The Congress has fielded Hilal Ahmad Shah while the National Conference, the single largest opposition party, will be represented by Iftikhar Hussain Misger in the polls which will be held on June 19. Votes will be counted on June 22. Sources said Mehbooba will vacate her Parliamentary seat only if she wins the bypoll.