‘Biggest mockery of democracy’: National Conference slams decision to conduct J&K BDC polls while its leaders are in detention

Srinagar: The National Conference (NC) on Wednesday slammed the decision to hold block development council (BDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging it is “the biggest mockery of democracy” to hold polls when the entire leadership of the state “under detention”.

The state unit of the Congress demanded that the government release it leaders detained after 5 August, when Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped, if it is serious about conducting the elections.

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

In a statement, the National Conference said an election without the active participation of NC “is a sham election”. It questioned the decision to hold polls in Kashmir in the shadow of “gags and restrictions”.

“What kind of elections is the present government up to? The legitimate leadership is still under detention. The very veracity of the BDC polls is under question,” it said. “The normal life stands crippled… The landlines form only one per cent of the total connectivity, and cannot in any case replace the vitality of mobile telephony,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) said it was not possible for the party to participate in the BDC polls as several of its leaders were in detention.

“How is it possible for the party to participate in the elections as the detention of leaders is still in force? We ask the government to end the detention of the Congress party leaders if it is really interested to ensure the conduct of BDC elections,” a spokesman of the party said in a statement here.

He said several leaders of the Congress party were not allowed to move out of their houses and in such a scenario how can the party ensure its participation in the elections. “The detention issue has to be addressed in larger interest of democracy,” the JKPCC spokesman said.

The 24 October election in 310 blocks of Jammu and Kashmir will be the first polls in the state since the abrogation of Article 370 provisions. Counting of votes will be held on the same day.

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