March 20, 2023

Political upheaval in Jammu and Kashmir over elections, opposition parties to meet EC. He explained to the opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir to meet the Election Commission with the polls in mind

All the opposition parties are now preparing to meet the Election Commission to demand the holding of elections in Jammu and Kashmir. They are led by the president of the National Conference. Farooq Abdullah.

Farooq Abdullah (File)

Image credit source: PTI

New Delhi. President of the National Conference. Farooq Abdullah is leading a 13-member delegation of national Jammu and Kashmir political parties. The delegation will meet the Election Commission and leaders of opposition parties in Delhi.

The agenda of these leaders’ meeting is to discuss issues related to Jammu and Kashmir. After the collapse of the BJP-PDP alliance in 2018, no elected government was formed in the state. A series of meetings are scheduled between the state’s all-party delegation and opposition leaders. One of these meetings is going to be held at the Constitutional Club in New Delhi.

Representatives of National Conference, PDP, Congress, J&K Panthers Party, J&K ANC, CPI(M), Dogra Saba, Shiv Sena and Aam Aadmi Party are participating in the meeting. Dr. Abdullah will later lead the delegation to a meeting with the Election Commission of India.

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Sajjad’s Lone People’s Conference and Altaf Bukhari’s AAP Party are not participating in these meetings.

What is the problem after all?

Dr. Both the meetings came a few days after the all-party meeting chaired by Abdullah. After this meeting, the political parties decided to meet the Election Commission for the early assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir has not had an elected government since the breakup of the PDP-BJP alliance.

The central government has consolidated Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, 2019, when the erstwhile state was bifurcated into two Union Territories. Meanwhile, the central government has handed over the matter of the election to the Election Commission. Its reasoning is that legally the Election Commission has the right to announce the date of any election exercise.

The delegation will discuss the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir where the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha-led administration is facing growing public protests over controversial policy decisions. Controversial policy decisions have also united opposition parties.

Anger is growing against LG’s decision

Several decisions of the LG administration have created widespread concern in Jammu and Kashmir. The administration’s ‘anti-acquisition’ campaign has started this year. The campaign provoked public anger and protests in some parts of the union territory. Later the administration was forced to stop this campaign.

Anger sparked by the anti-encroachment drive is yet to subside with the administration’s initiation of a property tax policy in Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu is considered a BJP stronghold, but the policy was opposed here too and a bandh was held against it last week.

Earlier this week, the administration was forced to cancel the contract awarded to Mumbai-based Aptech Ltd. The company was awarded the contract to conduct the examination to fill the vacant posts of Sub-Inspector and Junior Engineer.

Several candidates took to the streets demanding cancellation of contracts awarded to ‘tainted’ institutions. After their strong protest, the administration had to cancel the contract. The organization is already blacklisted in many states and Union Territories, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Unity of opposition parties

These controversial decisions have created unity among the opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir. The Gupkar Alliance, a regional alliance of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, opposes the removal of Article 370. Dr Abdullah’s meeting with the opposition and the Election Commission in the national capital will breathe new life into the moribund political life of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been without an elected government since 2018.

On one hand, the opposition parties want early assembly elections, while the central government is showing no commitment due to security concerns. Violence in Kashmir is currently at an all-time low, but a Kashmiri scholar was shot dead there last month.

Even though Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a record number of tourists last year and the G-20 event is scheduled to be held in Srinagar, the opposition has been targeting the central government anew for delaying the elections under the guise of security concerns.

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