The Jammu and Kashmir government has withdrawn the security cover of all the defeated candidates in the recent assembly polls immediately after the results. Now, the candidates are fighting another losing battle – this time with the authorities for restoring their security cover.
In all, only 86 of the 1,354 candidates could manage to make it to the 87-member house. Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah had won from two seats.
Candidates belonging to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), besides independents, have approached the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Election Commission, seeking protection in view of the high threat perception for contesting the polls.
“Many such candidates have gone into hiding after the elections. The authorities have ditched us. Why shouldn’t we boycott all the elections in future?” asked Mufti Nazimuddin of the Save Srinagar Front.
NCP’s Saira Sameer told Hindustan Times that she would request her party chief Sharad Pawar to take up the matter in Delhi. “I was thinking of contesting the Lok Sabha elections, but now family is dissuading me from doing so. At times, they don’t even let me visit the party office,” she added.
Muzaffar Shah of the Awami National Conference said the move has “hurt” the candidates, and they have lost faith in democracy. “This is simply political revenge. We have written letters to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the J&K Chief Minister as well. But, there has been no response from them so far,” he added.
Shah said the state police had recently claimed that 1,200 hardcore militants are active in J&K and “we are soft targets for them.” But a senior police official said, “It is not possible to provide similar security to the entire lot.”