NC Announces Boycott of Upcoming Municipal and Panchayat Polls in J&K

Srinagar: The National Conference (NC) led by former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah announced on Wednesday that it would stay away from the upcoming municipal and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the situation was not conducive for such an exercise.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, NC president Farooq Abdullah said: “Our 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.”

He said the decision was taken in the party’s core group meeting on Wednesday.

“The core group felt that the decision to hold municipal and panchayat elections was taken in a hurried manner without taking into consideration the prevailing situation by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35A,” he said.

Later in the day, Omar Abdullah, son of Farooq Abdullah and a former Chief Minister, tweeted: “It is now for the central government to clarify where it stands with regard to Art 35-A. It’s not enough to use panchayat & municipal elections simply to delay proceedings in court.”

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 Jammu and Kashmir.
The elections spread over eight phases will conclude in December.

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