Row over Article 35A: NC to boycott local body, panchayat polls in J&K

In J&K, urban local body polls are slated for the first week of October while the Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in November-December this year. 

Row over Article 35A: NC to boycott local body, panchayat polls in J&K

SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference will boycott the upcoming local body and panchayat elections in the state unless the Centre takes effective steps for protection of Article 35-A of the Constitution, the party said on Wednesday.

The announcement in this regard was made by NC president and former chief minister of J&K Farooq Abdullah. 

The veteran NC leader said that a decision to this effect was taken following a meeting of the core group of the party during which it was decided that NC will not participate in these elections unless and until the government of India and the state government clarify their positions in this regard.

Abdullah said the core group had a detailed discussion about the prevailing situation in the state with particular reference to Article 35-A of the Constitution. "It was felt that any tinkering with Article 35-A would prove disastrous not only for our state but for the entire country". 

Abdullah also demanded the Centre to take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A in and outside the courts.

He alleged that the state administration took the decision to hold urban local body and panchayat elections in a "hurried manner" and without taking into consideration the prevailing situation "created by the powers that be by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35-A". 

The call to boycott the upcoming polls came a week after the state government announced the schedule for holding elections to local bodies and panchayats in the state. 

While the urban local body polls are slated for the first week of October, the Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in November-December this year. 

He alleged that the stands of the Centre and the present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court goes "clearly against the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state.
 
"They conveniently ignore that this provision was incorporated in the Constitution after thorough discussion between the then state government and the Government of India and was made part of the Delhi Agreement 1952," he said.

"It was also approved by the state's constituent assembly as envisaged under article 370 of the Constitution," he said. 

The core group resolved that J&K National Conference would fight tooth and nail all "sinister" attempts aimed at interfering with this constitutional guarantee, Abdullah said. 
"Such attempts, if allowed, shall strike at the very basis of the relationship between the state and the Union," he said. 

(With PTI Inputs) 

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