BJP, Cong to battle it out in J&K civic polls

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SRINAGAR: With the major regional political parties like National Conference and the PDP resolving to boycott upcoming civic polls in J&K on account of the government’s hostile stance towards Article 35A, the arch rivals Congress and the BJP have decided to fight it out in the election.

On Wednesday, Congress finally announced its decision to take part in the polls.

“If we boycott, we are giving free run to RSS-BJP and other communal forces,” State Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said during a press conference in Srinagar. He added that boycotting elections would be irresponsible. “Need of the hour is to stop RSS-BJP. Boycott means we are not fulfilling our responsibility”. 

Earlier the party had adopted an ambiguous approach towards the exercise – albeit,  it didn’t cite the Article 35A as the reason. Congress, on the contrary,  alluded to the deteriorating security environment which made it difficult to conduct an elaborate exercise like Urban and Local Bodies and Panchayat polls.

Mir, however, added that the decision to participate in the polls could be reversed if the security environment deteriorates further and the fairness of the polls came under question. He also threw his weight behind the protection of Article 35A and said Congress had sought the legal opinion on the issue.

“In election we will work towards overthrow of fascist forces,” Mir said.

The election to Panchayats would be held in 9 phases on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29 and December 01, 04, 08 and 11. And those to the Municipal bodies would be conducted in four phases on 08, 10, 13 and 16 October this year.

The election to around 4500 Panchayat Halqas in over 35000 panchayat constituencies will have over 58 lakh electors. Last elections held in 2011 had witnessed a massive participation of the people.