PDP to boycott Panchayat, Municipal elections

‘NSA statement added fuel to fire’

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Sept 10 : The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) today announced boycott of Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies elections over 35A and worsening security situation in Kashmir.
The president of the PDP and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, addressing a press conference here this afternoon, announced the boycott of the polls over the apprehension of the people on the issue of Article 35A. “The atmosphere worsened when the Solicitor General of India linked 35A with these elections. There is an apprehension what will happen after elections to 35A. Keeping in view the emotions of people and special status; we have decided to stay away from elections” she said.
When asked about her party’s position on Parliament and Assembly polls, Mehbooba said: “One step at a time. I have already said the situation is not conducive and by linking 35A to elections, the people’s emotions have been hurt”, she said.
The PDP president said that as the people feel insecure over the fate of 35A and with what face her party will approach them. “People have a sense of insecurity. With what face will we go to the people when the sword of 35A is hanging over us”, she added.

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“Some of our leaders raised the issue that with boycott of elections some people will emerge who will work against the interest of the society. But priority this time is emotions of people and society and that there should be no bloodshed which is an apprehension”, she said.
Mehbooba said that Article 35A was un-necessarily linked to polls which means Centre has to do something with it. “It (35A) was unnecessary linked, they could have said that popular Government is not in place and once there is popular Government that will take decisions on 35A. What was necessity that it should be deferred till the polls. It means they are going to do something with it”, she said.
The PDP president said that her party and infact every Kashmiri will go to any extent to safeguard it. “35A is a sensitive issue. We will fight it politically. I want to share with you when the hearing of 35A was going on in Supreme Court, I met the Prime Minister and told him that he has commitment with us that there will be no tinkering with Article 370 and if there is any attempt to tinker with it through 35A we will pull out from Government, and that was one of the times when I threatened to pull out of Government. I think every Kashmiri will go to any extent to defend it. It is the matter of our survival and we can go to any extent for it”, she said.
When asked about the statement of the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, Mehbooba said that his statement added fuel to the fire. “Whosoever gave statement, he has added fuel to the fire, which is very bad. The relation of J&K with India is because of 35A and if it goes then there is no relation”, she said.
When asked about her meeting with Governor Satya Pal Malik, she said: “He was a friend of Mufti Sahib, he dropped in for a cup of tea. The politeness does not demand that if a guest comes to your home and you will discuss politics with him. So no politics was discussed”.
“It is not about convincing me. PDP has highest forum. We think, running away from the elections is no good thing but the situation and feedback we got from legislators and the workers that at ground level situation was already bad and sense of insecurity and bloodshed was there when there was my Government. Then we convened All Party Meeting in which it was decided the elections should not be held yet”, she added.