Surrender to Pakistan: Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti fume over EC decision not to hold J&K Assembly polls with Lok Sabha elections

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New Delhi | Updated: March 11, 2019 10:06:32 AM

Lok Sabha election 2019: National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah has observed that this will be the first time since 1996 that the assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir was not being held on schedule.

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Lok Sabha election 2019 schedule announced: Former Jammu and Kashmir CMs Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have come down heavily on the Modi government after Election Commission of India on Sunday announced that there won’t be simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the state.

While Omar called the decision PM Narendra Modi’s surrender to Pakistan, Mufti said that the decision confirms sinister designs of Government of India. The Congress too has slammed the Centre saying EC deferred decision to hold assembly polls due to the government’s mishandling of the situation in the state.

Abdullah pointed out that this would mark the first time since the year 1996 that the assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir was not being conducted on schedule. Asserting that the state held Lok Sabha and assembly elections on time even after the devastating floods of 2014, the NC leader said that it showed how badly the BJP and the BJP-PDP mishandled the state affairs.

“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,” Omar said.

“Balakote & Uri are not symbols of PM Modi’s handling of national security, J&K is and look at the mess he has made there. The abject surrender to anti-India forces is a crying shame,” he added.

“Remember this the next time you are praising PM Modi for his strong leadership,” he said in another tweet.

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Abdullah also called out Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh with a tweet asking, “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?”

Attacking the Prime Minister, Omar said that he had no idea that Modi would be “willing to confess his failure” on a global stage by deferring the assembly polls in the state.

PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said that this decision has confirmed the sinister designs of Government of India.

“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 (sic),” Mufti tweeted.

On Sunday, the EC announced schedule for Lok Sabha polls. The polls will be conducted in seven phases between April 11 and May 19 in seven phases. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.

Addressing the media, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, cited security situation in Jammu and Kashmir to say the poll panel has decided to not conduct the assembly polls along with the parliamentary elections simultaneously in the state.

“We need a sizeable number of security personnel for the protection of every candidate contesting Assembly elections in the state (J&K). This was also a demand put forth by representatives of political parties we met during our visit there. Availability of security forces is a constraint,” he said.

Arora said, “Central forces are definitely a big issue and one cannot disregard the recent developments. The commission ultimately doesn’t capitulate to anybody and at the same time commission cannot be non-cognizant of the situations on the ground and the feedback of the state administration.”

Refuting accusations about the delay in the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll dates, Arora said that since the term of the current House ended on June 3, the EC could have easily used three more days to declare poll dates but did not wait another day and declared dates on a Sunday.

In Anantnag, the CEC announced that polls will be held in three different phases because security reason.

The state is under President’s Rule since 2018 after BJP pulled out of an alliance government headed by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.

The Congress too echoed same sentiments. It said that Modi government’s mishandling of the situation in border state be blamed for EC’s decision to defer holding assembly polls.

“The Centre’s tall claims regarding the situation in the state stand exposed. The Centre has itself certified that the situation is out of control and not conducive for holding simultaneous polls,” J&K Congress chief GA Mir said.

Mir noted that it was a golden chance for the government to conduct assembly elections to provide an elected government to the state, as all political parties were in the support of simultaneous elections in the troubled state.

“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 added.

The Congress leader too pointed in the 2014, despite unfavourable situations, the state had recorded the “highest poll percentage”.

CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami said that delaying assembly polls will send wrong signals to the people within and outside Jammu and Kashmir. He noted that the Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi repeatedly justified the recent violent incidents in Kashmir as the rationale behind the deferment of assembly polls.

Questioning the planned Lok Sabha polls in the state in five phases, Tarigami asked, “If that is true, then how could Lok Sabha polls be held? Even the J-K Governor recently said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi complimented him for ‘successful’ conduct of civic elections in Jammu and Kashmir. When these polls could be held, what is the logic for deferring assembly polls?”

The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (NPP) chief Bhim Singh also slammed the Centre. He said that the decision has “exposed the double standards of the ruling BJP government at the Centre.” Singh also accused the centre led by the BJP that it has deprived the people of Jammu and Kashmir of their constitutional rights on purpose.

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