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Farooq Abdullah: PAGD candidates not allowed to canvass… security can’t be excuse

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has also raised the issue, claiming that the Centre is ‘sabotaging’ participation of non-BJP parties in DDC polls, and has called for an intervention by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar | November 22, 2020 2:35:19 am
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and Gupkar Alliance chief Farooq Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday accused the administration of “interfering” in the democratic process, claiming that security is being used as a pretext to impede candidates for the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) polls from canvassing.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has also raised the issue, claiming that the Centre is ‘sabotaging’ participation of non-BJP parties in DDC polls, and has called for an intervention by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The eight-phase DDC polls are set to begin on November 28.

Abdullah, who is the president of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), in a letter to J&K Election Commissioner K K Sharma said, “A strange and a unique feature has come to the fore. Candidates put up by the PAGD are immediately whisked away to ‘secure locations’ in the name of security and confined to those ‘secure locations’. They are not allowed to canvass, they are completely out of touch with those from whom they are supposed to seek votes.”

In an apparent reference to BJP candidates, Abdullah wrote, “The current state of affairs in the realm of security is blatantly oriented towards providing security to a select few and confining others. This comes across more as an attempt to interfere in the democratic process than any real concern for the wellbeing of the contestants. Security cannot and should not be used as a tool or an excuse to interfere in democratic processes.”

Abdullah said that it is job of the government to provide security to the candidates contesting the DDC polls. “Security is a challenge and it is for the government of the day to counter that challenge in a manner which is fair and transparent. Providing security to a select few and literally interning the rest is a gross interference in democracy.”

Saying that the journey of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir is soaked in blood, Abdullah has termed the government’s “interference” in the polls as a “desecration of those sacrifices”.

“May I add that the evolution of democracy in J&K is distinctive compared to any other part of the country. The journey is a bloodied journey, soaked in the blood of thousands of political workers who have laid down their lives for the sake of democracy. It is a desecration of those sacrifices when the very conflict that consumed their lives is used as an alibi to customize democracy,” Abdullah wrote.

“Democracy is still in a state of fragility in J&K. Governments come and go. No government has the right to alter the institutional foundations of democracy in J&K, nourished by the sacrifices of thousands of political workers,” he added.Abdullah said since the constituent parties of the PAGD have been in power in the past, they are aware of the security challenges in Jammu and Kashmir. “Our parties have been in power in the past and have had the opportunity to head and run the government. We are aware of the challenges posed in the realm of security in a place beset by violence,” his letter read. “These challenges are not new but have been painfully persisting for the last three decades. But the government had structures in place which ensured security for all contestants irrespective of the ideology they espoused or the parties they represented.”

Meanwhile, the PDP chief claimed that the Centre was “sabotaging” the participation of non-BJP parties in the DDC polls. “GOI sabotaging participation of non-BJP parties in DDC polls. PDPs Bashir Ahmed despite having adequate security has been detained at Pahalgam on the pretext of security. Today is the last day for filing nominations & have spoken to DC Anantnag for his release,” she tweeted, tagging Lt Gov Sinha in the post.

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