Congress to boycott J&K local body polls

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir unit of Congress on Wednesday decided to boycott the Block Development Council (BDC) elections, citing "indifferent" attitude of the state administration and continued detention of senior party leaders in the valley.

BDC polls will be held in Jammu and Kashmir on October 24. These will be the first elections to be held in the state since its special status was revoked under Article 370 on August 5. "Congress believes in strengthening of democratic institutions and never shied away from any polls. But today, we are compelled to take a decision to boycott BDC polls due to indifferent attitude of the state administration and continued detention of senior party leaders in the valley," state Congress president G.A. Mir told reporters in Jammu.

On Tuesday, Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma had alleged that there was no cooperation from the government even after his party expressed its willingness to participate in the polls, despite strong reservations about the conduciveness of the situation in the state. "The party is taking a fresh review of the overall scenario with regard to BDC elections in the wake of continued restrictions on the majority of senior party leaders in the entire Kashmir Valley," he said.

Mainstream political leaders in the valley, including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest since the government announced dilution of provisions of Article 370 over two months ago.

The state administration said last week that political leaders under house arrest in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner after proper analysis of every individual. Sharma said the government unilaterally announced the polls on party basis.

 

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