State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma today organised an all-party meeting in Jammu in which Panthers Party chairman Harsh Dev Singh staged a walked out and other parties expressed serious concern over delimitation of District Development Council (DDC) constituencies without consulting them.
The meeting was organised to discuss the upcoming DDC and Panchayat by-polls in J&K.
As soon as the meeting started, the JKNPP Chairman and Ex-MLA Harsh Dev Singh got up and protested against the withdrawal of security from the opposition parties especially Panthers Party.
"The Election Commission never considers opposition political parties' suggestions and puts them into the dustbin. Instead, they work on the directions from BJP," Harsh Dev Singh told the Greater Kashmir after he staged a walkout from the all party meeting.
He said: "They called all party meeting after deciding dates for elections without taking into confidence the political parties."
On security issues, he said: "We have resentment because our security cover has been withdrawn even as I have a life threat. On the contrary, BJP workers have been well protected."
The meeting was attended by BJP, Congress chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, PDP general secretary Surinder Choudhary, National Conference provincial secretary Sheikh Bashir Ahmed and BSP.
However, the opposition political parties expressed their resentment on delimitation of DDC constituencies, holding of abrupt polls, non-availability of electoral rolls and online format, whereas there was common concern about security withdrawal from opposition political leaders.
"We have conveyed to KK Sharma that no political party was consulted on delimitation of DDC constituencies. It seems BJP gave them a list of reserved constituencies and they announced it accordingly without consulting other political parties," said senior NC leader Sheikh Bashir Ahmed, while terming the meeting as meaningless.
Even as the process of holding DDC polls has been started, Ahmed said: "We do not know the number of polling stations. They said they will upload on the internet but we told them is it possible for the candidates to download lists and other online material in remote areas like Dacchan and Marwah of Kishtwar district?"
He said that the meeting was purposeless. "We have conveyed them our security concern which should be provided to the opposition political parties as well," said Bashir.
Even as there was resentment among political parties, but the leaders had detailed discussion with SEC KK Sharma on elaborated measures undertaken for the smooth conduct of DDC and Panchayat by-elections. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Hirdesh Kumar was also present in the meeting.
The SEC while responding to the demands and suggestions of the political parties assured them that these would be looked into and redressed properly.
While dwelling on the arrangements being done for ensuring smooth and hassle free conduct of the elections, the SEC said that a fool proof mechanism has been put in place besides synergized coordination between different departments involved in the process has also been ensured.
PARTIES HOLD HECTIC MEETINGS DAY BEFORE NOMINATION:
At provincial level in Jammu, Congress, National Conference organised separate meetings with the regional leadership of their respective parties to hold threadbare discussion on fielding candidates in first phase of DDC polls as November 11 is the last date for filing nomination papers for first phase.