Killing of Panchayat members will impact polls, says Omar

Ganderbal: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the recent killings of Panchayat members in south Kashmir will impact the voter turnout in parliamentary elections, saying people should left with a choice to vote or boycott the elections.
“There will be an impact, and that is why I have reservations (over poll boycott). When you ask people to boycott (elections) then leave the matter to them by giving them an open choice whether they want to vote or boycott the ballot,” Omar told reporters on the sidelines of a public rally in this central Kashmir district.
“When we don’t threaten people to vote, why they (militants) threaten them to boycott elections,” Omar asked. “We don’t force or drag people to the polling stations, why you (militants) threaten them to boycott? Why you use threats to keep people away from exercising their franchise?”
The Chief Minister said the “people (militant groups) who call for poll boycott have doubts over their boycott calls, they use fear to keep the people away from elections.”
“They have doubts over their own boycott call. That is why they use guns. And if that is so, then admit,” Omar said. “And I think they really are not sure about their boycott calls, and if they had, they wouldn’t have resorted to violence,” he said.
Omar also slammed BJP and its allies for issuing threats against the Muslims. He said it is a part of “well-planned conspiracy” to divide the people on communal lines so that people would be polarized in elections.
“Threats are being issued time and again whether from Pravin Tagodia or Amit Shah or their candidate Giriraj. They do it under a well-planned conspiracy to polarize voters in the ongoing elections,” Omar, who was accompanying his father Farooq Abdullah at the rally, said.
“We are not leveling any unfound charge against them. And if we have said anything it is based on their statements that have come time and again from them in particular to the Muslims of this country and the critics of Modi,” he said.
He said that things are made to appear as if speaking against Modi was a crime. “And we are being told to go to Pakistan who criticizes him (Modi). No issues then, let us go to Pakistan,” Omar added.