Congress to boycott Block Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir

Cheryl Sanders
October 10, 2019

The Congress has chose to boycott the Block Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir in protest against the continued detention of senior political leaders in the Kashmir valley.

The government says normalcy is slowly returning to the Muslim-majority territory and was hoping that the elections to sub-district councils set for October 24 would help bolster its case that ordinary Kashmiris wanted faster economic development. These will be the first elections to be held in the state since its special status was revoked under Article 370 on August 5. The results would be declared the same day.

"As of now there is no question of any democratic process and given the atmosphere that is around, the BDC elections seem irrelevant", he told reporters in Srinagar, referring to what locally are known as block development councils. Our leaders are under detention. This is the first-ever election after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre scrapped Article 370 and made a decision to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. "We have no other option but to announce that we are boycotting the election", Congress leader Ghulam Ahmad Mir said while addressing a press conference.

After the announcement of the Block Development elections on September 29, all the detained political leaders in Jammu were released.

Several prominent leaders of the Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP were present in the meeting. Among the detained leaders are former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

The state administration said last week that political leaders under house arrest in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner after proper analysis of every individual.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has announced that it would contest on 280 seats in the upcoming BDC polls.

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