PDP holds protest against EC for deferring LS poll in Anantnag-Rajouri seat

SRINAGAR — PDP workers led by senior party leader Naeem Akhtar on Wednesday held a protest against the Election Commission of India’s decision to defer the polling in Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat from May 7 to May 25.

The PDP demanded that the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s report which led to the postponement of the poll be made public.

The Election Commission on Tuesday postponed polls to the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat to May 25, citing logistical issues due to adverse weather conditions.

Former chief ministers of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah (National Conference) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) had urged the Election Commission last week not to postpone polls.

Dozens of PDP workers assembled at the PDP headquarters on Residency Road near GPO here and raised slogans against the BJP and the Election Commission of India for deferring the polls. A posse of policemen prevented the PDP workers from marching out on the road.

Speaking to reporters, Akhtar said the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency was carved out at the behest of the BJP as part of a process to exploit the religious and caste fault lines in the region.

“The constituency is spread over some parts of south Kashmir and two districts of Poonch and Rajouri. First, it is a geographical oddity. Anyways, they have made it with the purpose of exploiting the caste and religious fault lines and disrupting the unity of the people against abrogation Article 370 and Article 35A,” Akhtar said.

“It was a pre-poll rigging committed through a delimitation commission. The document prepared by the delimitation commission tried to target a particular section by disenfranchising and dispossessing them,” he said.

Abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 was not an event but an ongoing process of dispossession and disenfranchisement of people of Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP leader said.

“And a part of that process is that they tried to finish off the PDP by creating new parties like bonsai plants which have been kept by the BJP as showpieces for the world.

“However, they have realised that the wind is blowing in the opposite direction due to our leader Mehbooba Mufti and our cadres. The people of Jammu and Kashmir getting united despite their efforts to create divisions,” he said.

Akhtar said there are four recognised parties which are taking part in the election –“ PDP, Congress, NC and CPI(M). Only the BJP sought deferment of the polls even though it has not fielded a candidate there, he said.

Asserting that the Election Commission has become a tool of the BJP, Akhtar said there was enough evidence of this across the country.

“They have snatched everything from Jammu and Kashmir — from autonomy to the constitution to our rights. We tell the Election Commission of India to desist from these things. It should not further this process (of disenfranchisement). You are being part of a crime which is not only against Jammu and Kashmir but the entire country.

“We demand that the report on the basis of which the polls have been deferred be made public so that we get to know whether the officers serving in Jammu and Kashmir are working for interests of people of Jammu and Kashmir or to fulfil the orders of their masters,” he added.

The Election Commission had asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to immediately submit a detailed report on road conditions, weather and accessibility to the region which covers parts of South Kashmir and areas in Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region.

Akhtar said his party will continue their fight for restoration of rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir through peaceful, constitutional and democratic means.

“We assure the people that we will not resign, we will not give up but we will not take the path taken by some after 1987 (militancy). We will fight it constitutionally and democratically,” he added. — (PTI)