Not surprised, nor opposed to NC decision: PDP
Barely an hour after National Conference threatened to boycott the upcoming Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies polls, the Peoples Democratic Party Wednesday pitched for an all-party meeting, saying fears about protection of Article 35A need to be allayed first.
The party said linking challenges to the Article in the Supreme Court with the local elections has led to fears about protection of constitutional provisions.
"In government I had called an all-party meeting to discuss ULB/Panchayat elections and majority of the parties had opposed holding of elections at that time," PDP president and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti was quoted saying in a party Twitter handle.
"We expected that the governor too would have called an All Party meet where everyone would put forward their view point."
In another tweet, Mufti said, "We are still hopeful about that meet and would share our opinion with all the parties so that a consensus is built.
The PDP chief spokesperson, Rafi Ahmad Mir said the union government's plea before the Supreme Court on last hearing on Article 35A that the case should be deferred till completion of Panchayat and ULB polls created apprehensions among the people that there was a "design against Article 35A".
"This fear would have been addressed had Governor called all party meeting. Today, there are apprehensions regarding Article 35A and security of candidates for Panchayat polls," said Mir.
"But the Governor came from Delhi and announced polls without reviewing situation in Kashmir."
On August 31 state administration council headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik approved conduct of 4-phased municipal polls from October 1 to October 15 and 8-phased Panchayat elections from November 8 to December 4.
Elections, Mir said, can't be held for the sake of elections.
"We are not surprised by Dr Farooq's decision nor do we oppose it. We expect the Governor to call an all party meeting to discuss all issues and build a consensus," said Mir.
"The protection of constitutional provisions including Article 35A which guarantee Jammu and Kashmir's sovereignty is supreme to us," said Mir.
Article 35A empowers J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state. The provision has been challenged on the basis that the Article was "unconstitutional" and approved by the President without any debate in the parliament.