The opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday criticised the Election Commission's decision to rescind the by-poll notification for the Hazratbal assembly constituency in the Kashmir Valley.
Addressing a media conference in Srinagar, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said: "The EC (Election Commission) decision to annul the poll notification for the Hazratbal assembly constituency is aimed at helping the National Conference (NC) candidate whose nomination papers were accepted by the returning officer in violation of the rules."
The election to the Hazratbal assembly seat was to be held May 7 to coincide with the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat but the orders were rescinded by the Election Commission Thursday evening. The Hazratbal assembly constituency is within the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.
The returning officer of the Hazratbal constituency had reportedly accepted the nomination of Mustafa Kamal despite objections from the PDP candidate and others that there were discrepancies in the NC candidate's papers.
The PDP president also alleged that the ruling NC was bent upon rigging the elections in Kashmir putting a question mark on the credibility of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had been asserting that polls in Jammu and Kashmir would be free and fair.
"This development has brought the prime minister's credibility into question," Mehbooba Mufti said.
The Hazratbal assembly by-election became necessary after the NC legislator and party president Farooq Abdullah resigned to contest the Rajya Sabha elections from the state earlier this year. Now he is a candidate for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.