(Image source from: The Week)
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), another regional party of Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday, announced it would boycott the municipal and panchayat elections, which is scheduled to be held later this month, days after the National Conference proclaimed its move to stay away from the polls.
Addressing reporters after the party meeting, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said they would not contest the polls as the prevailing situation was not favorable.
The Supreme Court had on August 31 deferred the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, as the Centre urged the court to take up the matter after panchayat elections in the state.
"We will go to any extent to protect Article 35A," said Mufti at a press conference in Srinagar.
She said the people of the state have "sacrificed a lot" and no one can fiddle with the validity of Article 35 A.
PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir told reporters unless the apprehensions expressed by the people with regard to Article 35A are satisfactorily addressed, "we feel holding of municipal and panchayat polls will be a futile exercise".
The move comes just days after the National Conference announced that it will not contest the panchayat polls and even the 2019 elections "until and unless the Government of India and the state government clear their position on Article 35A and takes effective steps to protect Article 35A in and outside the court".
Article 35A has been challenged in the Supreme Court, which gives special rights to people in the state and bars outsiders from owning immovable property.
By Sowmya Sangam