Release all leaders, ensure their free movement for polls: Mir

PCC chief GA Mir addressing press conference in Jammu on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
PCC chief GA Mir addressing press conference in Jammu on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

PCC chief not allowed to visit Kashmir

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Feb 17: While throwing ball in the court of the Government, the Congress Party today asked the BJP to ensure the release of all Congress leaders and allow their free movement with adequate security, the party is willing to take part in the ongoing elections, despite strong reservations over the mode and manner of unilaterally conducting these elections on party-basis, without taking all recognized main stream parties on board.
Addressing a press conference at party office here this afternoon, JKPCC president Ghulam Ahmed Mir took strong exception to the authoritarian mode of the Government in unilaterally announcing by-elections to Panchayats on party basis, when original general elections to these bodies were held on non-party basis but still Congress is not averse to polls to the vacant seats and would contest, if all our leaders are released and allowed all sorts of genuine political activities in a secure atmosphere.

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Mir, who was flanked by JKPCC vice president Raman Bhalla and chief spokesperson, Ravinder Sharma said that even today he was not allowed to go to Kashmir despite written request last evening. ” What sort of elections on party basis are being held by the present dispensation under the BJP led Central Government?” he asked.
Congress leader said when general elections were held on non-party basis, it is totally illegal and arbitrary to hold by-elections to the left out seats or vacancies on party basis. “It is reality that over 12,500 seats i.e over 60% seats in Kashmir valley had remained unfilled in last general elections but Government had made tall claims of smooth and successful elections in Kashmir region. How elections on non-party basis and now on party basis are being held to the same institution?” he quipped.
He said it is unique chapter of history, that the BJP Government first forced elections to BDCs on party basis, by putting all opposition leaders behind bars or under strict elections and now again elections on party basis without allowing leaders of the parties except BJP, to resume political activities especially in the valley. Only two days ago, even a private conference in Kashmir by an NGO was disallowed by the government but simultaneously announcing elections on party basis.
Blaming BJP of weakening PRIs during their tenure by retrograde amendments to the Panchayat Act, Mir said that Congress party strengthened the PRIs by introducing 73rd and 74th in the state laws after persuading our coalition partners. It was then Governor NN Vohra, who restored the law, to the 2014 position, after dismissal of PDP-BJP Government. BJP also faced a humiliating defeat in BDC elections in the absence of any other main political party in the fray last year.
He said that we have faith in the people who would choose the right candidates, even if we are not allowed to field party candidates, in view of the undeclared restrictions on us to reach out to the party cadres and the people.
Mir also questioned why the Lt. Governor has not given any appointment to the Congress delegation despite written request over a month ago, which reflects the approach of the present dispensation.
In reply to question about some leaders resigning from PDP to form another front while stating that Article 370 is no issue now, PCC chief said that those who were main votaries of self rule and some other similar formulas, till a couple of months should explain the reasons for sudden change of their heart and their stand, adding anyone from the party taking extreme positions would be dealt with as per party norms.