A video clip purportedly showing National Conference (NC) leader Sakina Itoo forcing an elderly person to swear by religion and vote for the Jammu and Kashmir's ruling party has appeared on social network sites, triggering an angry response from opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP).
While the PDP registered a complaint with the Election Commission of India over violation of the model code of conduct, chief minister Omar Abdullah backed Sakina, a minister in the state government, in a series of tweets on Sunday.
"I've spoken to Sakina, this video was taken months before the election code (came into force). She isn't threatening anyone, she isn't abusing anyone," Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
In another tweet, he said, "She isn't asking for votes or in any way talking about elections/rival candidates. How is this then an election matter?"
The PDP, however, thought otherwise. Party spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said, "The video has gone viral on...Facebook, showing the minister and few of her supporters compelling an old man to support her in the coming election."
"They are clearly trying to force the people to swear by Quran and their Muslim faith that they would support and vote for the NC candidate."
Omar said the opposition party had pressed the panic button and was trying to mislead voters. "I know the PDP is in complete panic mode but using old videos & trying to mislead the EC about code violations is desperate beyond words," he tweeted.
The undated clip purportedly shows the NC leader from south Kashmir asking one of the supporters of her late father (former assembly speaker Wali Mohammad Itoo) to gear up for the upcoming polls.
"I am like your daughter, you take oath with Quran in your hands that you will gear up...to support us in the elections. I will also return favours to you later..." she tells the old man, who is sipping tea in a room, in the video.
The 2.46-minute-long video clip also shows the old man reciting Kalima and extending his hand forward to assure his support.