Azad welcomes EC’s decision to postpone polls in Anantnag-Rajouri constituency

JAMMU — Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairperson Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday welcomed the Election Commission’s decision to postpone polls in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency and said this has relieved several political parties.

Azad emphasized the importance of the assembly elections over parliamentary elections stating it is very important to have a legislative assembly and legislators put in place through polls.

“It is never too late. The decision of the Election Commission of India has relieved us. I thank the ECI for taking this right decision. All political parties will benefit from the decision. Actually, all parties are happy,” he told reporters here.

Azad, who is on campaign trial in Rajouri for his party’s candidate Mohammad Saleem pitted in triangular contest with PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and NC’s Mian Altaf on Anantnag-Rajouri seat, pointed out that the Election Commission should have scheduled polling in this constituency for the sixth or seventh phase.

He explained that this circumstance led him and other political parties to write a letter to the Election Commission, requesting the postponement of elections until the Mughal road is reopened.

Azad highlighted the significant travel challenges within the constituency.

“It takes three days to reach Poonch from Kashmir via Jammu and three more days to return. How is it possible that it takes six days and three nights in a constituency to travel from one area to another?” he asked.

The DPAP chairperson said that after the announcement of elections, he was waiting for the past 10 to 15 days to reopen the Mughal road through Pir Ki Gali so that he and along with his candidate could undertake campaigning here.

“Due to heavy snowfall and rains, this road could not be reopened till date,” he said.

Regarding the impact on the Nomadic community’s ability to vote, Azad said, “There will be no effect on the Nomadic community in terms of exercising their franchise. They generally move to upper reaches in June as the hills are covered by snow as of now. By then, we will even get the results and the government would also be formed.”

Responding to a question about the elections in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, he described it as “romantic” and emphasized it is the first constituency carved out since 1947, consisting of parts of the Jammu and Kashmir regions.

Taking a swipe at the Congress, Azad said, “It is not the first time someone has raised questions on EVMs. Several parties have raised questions on EVMs. Debates were held in the Parliament on it. The court and the ECI have deemed them the right ones.”

He maintained that the election commissioners appointed by the former Congress led UPA governments have also endorsed their validity.

“When the Congress and regional parties win, then EVMs are right and they are wrong at the time of their defeat,” he added.

Azad emphasized the importance of the assembly elections over the Lok Sabha polls and said “it is very important for us to have a legislative assembly and legislators put in place through elections”.

He said that in a first, Jammu and Kashmir will get a joint MP after delimitation.

“I don’t know which party benefited and which party didn’t but this is definitely romantic as this is the first constituency since 1947 where half of Jammu province and half of Kashmir province will have an MP who will represent Jammu-Kashmir entirely. Earlier it was Jammu MP and Kashmir MP respectively,” he said.

On the BJP’s candidate not being present on the ground, he said they only know if it is a masterstroke or not. — (PTI)