Srinagar:The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference will boycott the local body and panchayat elections in the state unless the Centre takes effective steps for protection of Article 35-A of the Constitution, which is facing legal challenge in the Supreme Court, party president Farooq Abdullah said Wednesday.”The core group (of NC) unanimously decided that the National Conference will not participate in these elections unless and until the government of India and the state government clarify their positions in this regard and take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A in and outside the courts,” Abdullah said after the meeting here.
He said the decision of the state administration to hold urban local body polls and panchayat elections was taken in a “hurried manner” and without taking into consideration the prevailing situation “created by the powers that be by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35-A”.The state government last week announced the schedule for holding elections to local bodies and panchayats in the state.
While the urban local body polls are slated for the first week of October, the Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in November-December this year.Abdullah said the core group had a detailed discussion about prevailing situation in the state with particular reference to Article 35-A of the Constitution. “It was felt that any tinkering with Article 35-A would prove disastrous not only for our state but for the entire country”.
The State Administrative Council (SAC), headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik, announced on August 30, that the elections to Municipal Bodies in the state will be conducted in four phases between October 1, 2018 and October 5, 2018. Meanwhile, elections to Panchayats, that have not been held in the state since 2011, will be conducted in eight phases between November 8, 2018 and 4th December, 2018.