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After NC, PDP to boycott local body and panchayat polls in J&K

The local body and panchayat polls will be held in eight phases in J&K till December.

After NC, PDP to boycott local body and panchayat polls in J&K

SRINAGAR: Two days after the National Conference announced its decision to stay away from the local body polls, the Peoples Democratic Party led by Mehbooba Mufti on Friday decided to boycott upcoming municipal and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

A decision to this effect was taken after a meeting of the PDP Political Affairs Committee, which was chaired by former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

"Strong apprehensions continue in the minds of people regarding the future of Article 35A. The manner in which the government sought the adjournment of the hearing on the Article 35A in the Supreme Court and also the hurry with which municipal and panchayat polls have been announced, it is not possible for us to take part in these elections,'', PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir told reporters.

Mir said unless the apprehensions expressed by the people with regard to Article 35A are satisfactorily addressed, "we feel holding of municipal and panchayat polls would be a futile exercise".

On Wednesday, NC patron and president Farooq Abdullah had said that his party will not contest the panchayat and municipal polls until the Centre clears its position on Article 35A granting special rights to the residents and takes effective steps for its protection.

The Supreme Court on August 31 deferred the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, as the Centre urged the Court to take up the matter after panchayat elections in the state.

The elections spread over eight phases will conclude in December.