J&K's ruling coalition partners, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday favoured deferment of by-poll for the Anantnag parliamentary segment, while opposition National Conference said, "We are ready, provided that Government makes atmosphere conducive for holding the polls." Another key opposition party, Congress demanded that polls should be held as soon as possible.
The views were echoed by the representatives of the political parties in a meeting chaired by J&K Chief Electoral Officer, Umang Narula , who is likely to submit report to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday whether it is possible to hold polls for the segment before January 4, next year or not.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that PDP, on expected lines, pushed for deferring the by-poll for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency, which was necessitated in the wake of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti resigning as Member Parliament to retain the assembly seat which she won by her in by-polls held in June this year.
The Anantnag parliamentary seat was declared vacant on July 4 after Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Under the law, polls have to be held before January 4, 2017.
Openly pitching for deferring polls, senior PDP leader Sartaj Madni, according to sources, said, "The situation is not conducive for the same."
Interestingly, nobody from BJP attended the meeting where opposition parties where almost on same page over timing of polls. However, sources said, BJP, latter in a communiqué to the CEO subtly favored deferment of the polls. "They, however, left the decision on the ECI," sources disclosed.
"We told them that situation is not conducive, but if you can restore law and order situation and make conducive atmosphere for polls , then we will contest polls," NC leader Mir Saifullah , who represented the party in the meeting , told Greater Kashmir over phone. He alleged that Government has withdrawn security of many NC leaders in different parts of Kashmir.
On the other hand, Congress favoured holding of polls as early as possible. "We told them that polls should be held at an earliest possible time as our two parliament seats are vacant," the Congress leader Ravinder Sharma said.
He said holding of polls has always been a challenge in JK. "On one hand, the Government is claiming that situation is improving and 95 percent students have participated in exams but on the other, it is running away from polls, "he said.
He said they also favoured holding of polls simultaneously for Anantnag and Srinagar parliamentary segments. "Why should we wait for six months? Srinagar should not be left unrepresented for a long time," he said.
The Srinagar parliament seat was declared vacant on October 17, after the PDP MP, Tariq Hameed Kara, resigned from the PDP and Parliament. The polls in Srinagar have to be held before April 16, 2017.