Expressing the ruling Jammu and Kashmir National Conference party's reservation on the merits of holding polls in the flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday questioned the timing of conducting polls in the state and stated that the Election Commission should judge the merits of holding elections at such a time.
As far as the state government is concerned, we have drawn a distinction between whether we can have elections and whether we should have elections. We are in the position to hold them. In terms of our ability to have them we can have them. You have to draw the distinction as to whether this is an opportune time to do that or not, that is for the Election Commission to decide,? Abdullah told media persons here.
In the national capital to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Abdullah further said, "My party has made it very clear: we do not believe this is an opportune time to have elections. We believe that at this point of time, people are struggling to rebuild their lives. Both sparsely and heavily populated areas of the Kashmir valley were hit with floods."
The state capital, which in normal circumstances has a less than optimum turnout in elections, is the area that was most affected. Tomorrow, when a zero percent turnout happens in Srinagar, you will have blame those people who are trying to heap insult on injury by calling for elections at this point in time, he added.
Our stand was made very clear to the Election Commission: we found ourselves in a minority in a debate on the subject. Thus, we have left it for the Election Commission to decide, he further added.
Recently, a consultation held by a top official of the Election Commission with political parties in the state found that except for the National Conference, all other parties like the Congress, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agreed to hold elections at the scheduled time later this year.