Deferring polls in Anantnag a BJP conspiracy to benefit its proxy candidate: Iltija Mufti

SRINAGAR — A day after election to Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat in Jammu and Kashmir was postponed to May 25, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti Wednesday claimed the two-week deferment was done at the behest of BJP to influence the voters and benefit its proxy candidate.

Iltija Mufti, who was appointed as media adviser to her mother in August last year, also said “it is very sad that the BJP is co-opting institutions like the judiciary and Election Commission of India”.

Talking to PTI videos, she said the people will lose faith in democracy because of this decision of the Election Commission.

“This seat does not belong to BJP because people from all communities are with Mehbooba Mufti. They are insecure and do not want a strong voice like my mother to reach Parliament.”

Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Mian Altaf are in a direct contest in the constituency.

Prominent among 18 other candidates in the fray include Mohammad Saleem Parray of Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) and J&K Apni Party leader Zafar Iqbal Khan Manhas.

Though the BJP is not contesting from the seat, its leaders in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri are campaigning in favour of Manhas.

“This is a conspiracy to undermine the very idea of democracy. The gerrymandering, the delimitation exercise, all this was done because BJP wanted this seat. Just a few hours before the announcement by the Election Commission, some BJP leaders gave communal statements and even threatened Paharis that if they do not vote for the proxy parties of BJP, a communal situation like that of 1947 will be created to disturb the peace,” the PDP leader said.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina on Tuesday expelled a senior party leader for “hate speech” and “using unparliamentary language” during an election meeting in Poonch district.

Raina ordered expulsion of district spokesperson, Poonch, Satish Bhargav from the primary membership of the party for a period of six years for “gross indiscipline”.

“For the people of Jammu and Kashmir, it is an unpleasant experience because it takes them back to 1987 elections (when the assembly polls were rigged leading to eruption of militancy). The only difference is rigging happened on the election day that year and today it is being done even before the voting process has started here,” Iltija Mufti claimed.

She said her party has already written to EC but they have “closed their eyes to everything.”

Raising a question over EC’s decision, she said who were the officers who submitted the report for postponement of elections?

“Was the report for or against the postponement? If it was for the postponement, then the local administration is hand in gloves with the Centre.”

Continuing her tirade against the EC, she said it is making excuses of weather and not giving any proper explanation “but the truth is the BJP is helping its proxy parties in Kashmir”.

“They (BJP) were never confident of their win and that was the reason why they did not even nominate their candidates,” Iltija Mufti said.

“By betraying people and their trust in democracy, they want to influence the mandate but that will not happen. The extra time that we have got now, we will make sure that Mehbooba Mufti wins the seat with a bigger margin now,” she said.

She alleged that it was a conspiracy to weaken the regional parties, especially the PDP.

“Jammu and Kashmir has become a laboratory since 2019. You tried your best to weaken the PDP and when that did not happen, you tried to create new parties but I must tell you that people have no liking for them. Also, they do not have faith in these parties,” she said, accusing the BJP of dividing the people on the basis of religion. — (PTI)