All party meet for DDC polls: Parties accuse EC of kowtowing to BJP
Jammu and Kashmir state election commissioner KK Sharma on Wednesday had to face the ire of the Opposition during an all-party meet when the latter expressed their concerns over security and accused poll officials of kowtowing to the BJP.
Dissatisfied over arrangements and alleging favouritism, the Panthers Party staged a walk out. In the run-up to district development council polls and panchayat and ULB bypolls, Sharma had held an all-party meet that was attended by the National Conference (NC), Congress, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Panthers Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and BJP.
Panthers Party chairperson and former minister Harsh Dev Singh said, “I walked out of the meet because they have not made any arrangements for the polls. Their returning officers don’t know, which documents are required and nomination forms have not been posted on the official website despite Thursday being the last date. At many places returning officers are demanding character certificates, which are not required in these elections.”
Flagging security concerns, Singh said, “I have received threats from the Hizbul Mujahideen and BJP but they have withdrawn my security. This is true for other party leaders as well. In the meantime, mere BJP workers have been assigned 10 security personnel each.”
PDP’s former MLC and general secretary Surinder Choudhary also raised serious objections over the entire was being conducted.
“It appears the elections are being held for a single party. The authorities are not coordinating with other leaders.Security arrangements are almost negligible in Kashmir where numerous threats have been issued . Election material has also not been supplied to other parties nor were we consulted while announcing election dates,” he told the state election commissioner.
Former Congress MLC and spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said, “Security is a major concern for all of us. It has been given to BJP only. Therefore, the election commission should intervene in the matter.”
Jammu and Kashmir chief electoral officer HK Singh said apprehensions related to security of contesting candidates and political parties will be taken up with the government. “The lieutenant governor has been personally according top priority to these elections and security of candidates and political parties is being taken seriously.We shall also relay their apprehensions to the DGP and home secretary,” said Singh.
“Wherever nomination forms could not be downloaded, candidates can approach their respective returning officers,” he said and denied allegations of favouritism as well.
“Election authorities are an independent entity and question of favouring anyone does not arise at all. The election commission cannot be influenced,” he said.