Srinagar: Terming Syed Ali Shah Geelani a leader of “international stature,” a ruling National Conference (NC) legislator from Sopore Friday urged the Hurriyat Conference(G) chairman to reconsider boycott call to “thwart the march of Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Kashmir.”
“Geelani Sahab is undoubtedly a leader of international stature. He is loved by one and all. He has not only influence in Sopore but Baramulla as well. His words are accepted in letter and spirit by his supports,” NC legislator, Haji Mohammad Ashraf Ganai, told Kashmir Reader Friday.
He said the north Kashmir district is a stronghold of resistance leadership, where people have deep affection for slain Peoples Conference leader, Professor Abdul Gani Lone and Ameer-e-Jamaat, Jamaat-e-Islami, Ghulam Mohammad Bhat and other pro-freedom leaders.
“Geelani Sahab is a revered figure. I respect him for being a wonderful teacher. And whatever I’ve learnt, it’s because of him,” Ganai said, adding “We share very good family relations. We stick to each other in good and bad times.”
However, Ganai said that that he has never met the Hurriyat Conference chairman since he became MLA after contesting elections on a NC ticket.
“I haven’t met him during these six years. However, as his favorite student, I urge him to reconsider the boycott call. This boycott is only going to help BJP that is hell bent upon abrogating Article 370, the identity of Kashmiris,” he said.
He said to stop the march of saffron party in Kashmir; the boycott call should be reviewed by the resistance leadership. He alleged that BJP was covertly supporting Irshad Kar, son of veteran Congress leader, Ghulam Rasool Kar to win the elections from Sopore assembly constituency.
“Even then, I’m hopeful that people will vote for me. I enjoy good support from the members of Pandit community. Insha’Allah, victory will be mine,” he said.
He said he was optimistic that the voter turnout in the Sopore assembly constituency will be higher than the poll percentage of 20 percent in the previous elections in the backdrop of first phase of elections that saw 70 percent votes polled.
“The huge voter turnout in Bandipora and Ganderbal will definitely act like a catalyst. We can expect a better turnover in Sopore this election,” he added.
However, Ganai also acknowledged that the higher turnout during the first phase of polls was partly the outcome of raking up of Article 370 issue by the BJP. “People came out and voted in large numbers to defend the special status of the state. They want to give a befitting reply to BJP, and prevent them from making inroads in Kashmir” he added.
When contacted, Geelani told Kashmir Reader that he can’t review the poll boycott call because it’s an issue concerning the fate of the people of the state.
“It’s not an individual issue. It’s an issue concerning Kashmiri nation. And after all, the elections held under the barrel of gun hold no legitimacy,” he said.
Over 52 pc believe JK polls are fair: Online Poll
Srinagar: An online poll conducted by Pakistani newspaper “Dawn” has revealed that more than 52 per cent believe that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are free and fair.
Of the nearly 8,000 respondents to the online poll, 52.54 per cent said “yes” to the question whether the elections in “Indian-held Kashmir are largely free and fair?”
The remaining respondents were of the opinion that the ongoing assembly elections in the state are not free and fair.
The rare survey comes in the wake of high voter turnout in the first phase of elections in the state on November 25, which saw more than 72 per cent of the electorate exercise their right to vote as the polling day passed off by and large peacefully.
Since the eruption of militancy in the state, the Pakistan media by and large had been dubbing the elections held in Jammu and Kashmir as not free and fair.
The low voter turnout in the past elections was used as a justification for such claims.