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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

Geelani’s Hurriyat asks panches to boycott upcoming polls, shun political parties

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, November 25, 2012
First Published: 19:10 IST(25/11/2012) | Last Updated: 19:17 IST(25/11/2012)

Hardline Hurriyat, headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on Sunday, asked panches and sarpanches to dissociate themselves from all mainstream political parties and boycott upcoming polls for four legislative council seats created for these grassroots representatives.

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“Don’t be misled by mainstream political parties. You (grass roots representatives) are the part of our nation. Disassociate your affiliation from ruling as well as opposition parties,” said Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar in Srinagar.
 
Accusing the ruling coalition parties, the National Conference and the Congress, of truncating freedom of people, the Hurriyat alleged, “All mainstream parties are ideologically same. They are power thirsty. The PDP too is same and is a creation of Indian agencies.”
 
Jammu and Kashmir is all set to hold polls for four seats of the state legislative council. At least 33,540 sarpanches and panches will vote for these seats on December 3.
 
While 15,628 sarpanches and panches would vote for two candidates in Jammu division, 17,912 will vote from Kashmir valley. 44 candidates have filed nominations, with 28 in Jammu division and 16 in Kashmir.
 
Describing grassroots representatives to participate in the polls as act of “a traitor”, the Hurriyat spokesman said, “The administration may provide the security (to grassroots representatives) but the stigma due to their anti-movement activities will haunt them and will remain there.”

Ruling National Conference and coalition partner Congress are jointly contesting these polls with chief minister Omar Abdullah hinting recently that the two parties will enter into an alliance for the 2014 assembly polls.
 
Geelani’s Hurriyat has taken pot shots at the alliance. “The combination of plough (symbol of NC) and hand (Congress) has already proved a malignant headache for state and is the main cause of political instability in Jammu and Kashmir,” alleged Akbar.
 
Moderate Hurriyat chairman Miwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik have maintained distance from these polls. They have neither supported nor opposed these polls.
 
Pakistan-based militant conglomerate United Jehad Council has also maintained silence over the upcoming polls. Though UJC chief Syed Salahuddin was critical of the grassroots representatives recently, he has made several flip flop statements on the Panchayat boycott call and attacks on these representatives.
 
The grassroots representatives have come under militants attacks this year. At least seven such representatives have been killed so far, forcing the government to put in place extra security measures for them. The security has also been reviewed for the upcoming polls in the backdrop fears of militant attack. Grassroots representatives will poll votes in their respective distric headquarters across the state.


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