BJP demands action against parties boycotting Jammu and Kashmir local body polls

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Jammu: The BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Saturday demanded de-recognition and withdrawal of symbol of the parties which have announced that they will boycott the upcoming urban local bodies (ULB) and panchayat polls in the state.

ULB elections are scheduled to take place in four phases beginning October 8 and the panchayat polls will be held in November-December in nine phases.

Four parties — National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Bahujan Samaj Party — have announced that they will be boycotting the polls.

“The BJP urges state chief electoral officer to de-recognise those political parties which have announced (their decision to) boycott ULB and panchayat polls,” the party’s state spokesperson Anil Gupta told reporters here.

He said NC, PDP, CPI(M) and BSP are state or national level parties with reserved election symbols and are mandated to participate in all elections according to Section 29A(5) of Representation of People Act, 1951.

“Elections are the core of the democratic process and afford people an opportunity to express their will. By boycotting the elections, these political parties have not only betrayed the people of the state but also disrespected the Constitution which they had pledged to safeguard while applying for recognition of their respective political parties,” he added.

Gupta said, “Suppression of the democratic process by these parties also amounts to gross violation of human rights”.

“The chief electoral officer needs to immediately take up the issue with the Election Commission of India to de-recognise these parties and freeze their election symbols,” he said.

He added he has already filed a petition in this regard.

The NC and the PDP are boycotting the polls over Article 35(A), which grants special rights and privileges to the “permanent residents” of the state and is facing legal challenge.

The CPI(M) and the BSP have slammed the Centre for going ahead with the polls despite the state’s two main parties opposing them and the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.