Srinagar: Underhand means are being used to compel winning candidates of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) to join the Altaf Bukhari-led Apni Party, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said on Saturday at a press conference here. He corroborated his claim by playing before reporters a voice recording in which a PAGD candidate was offered the release of a jailed family member in exchange for joining the Apni Party.
As per the recording, the husband of a woman candidate who had won the DDC election in Shopian district had agreed to his wife joining the Apni Party in return for his brother’s release. The woman, Yasmeena Jan, had joined the Apni Party on Friday.
Calling Apni Party the ‘BJP’s B team’, Omar said that such tactics were aimed at reversing the verdict of the DDC elections, in which the PAGD has won 110 of the 278 seats for which results have been declared.
“I don’t know the reasons on whose command this all is being done,” said Omar. “Winning candidates of PAGD are being threatened, humiliated and coerced to join Apni Party, which is a B-team of BJP.”
“It has been initiated from Shopian where NC’s former MLC Showkat Ganai and senior NC leader Shabir Ahmed Kullay have been kept under detention, perhaps to make them join the Apni Party,” Omar said, calling it an example of how democracy was being murdered in J&K.
He also lambasted BJP leaders for attempting to discredit democracy by using the administration to compel winning candidates to join Apni Party.
Omar said that most people in Kashmir had voted for the reversal of the August 5 decision to abrogate Article 370 and take away the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.
The PAGD had contested the election on the plank of rejecting the abrogation of Article 370.