The Congress announced on Wednesday that it would boycott the upcoming Block Development Council election in Jammu and Kashmir. These will be the first elections to take place in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. Polling on 310 out of the 316 blocks in Jammu and Kashmir would be held on October 24 from 9am to 1pm. The results would be declared the same day.
“We’ve come to realise that these elections (Block Development Council elections) are being held to facilitate only one party – ruling party. Our leaders are under detention. We have no other option but to announce that we are boycotting the election,” Congress leader Ghulam Ahmad Mir was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Nearly 400 mainstream political leaders were put under house arrest a day before the Narendra Modi government revoked the special status provided to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. Among the detained leaders are former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
Earlier this week, the J&K administration announced that the detained leaders would be released in a phased manner.
On being asked about the release of the detained leaders, Farooq Khan, advisor to J&K governor Satya Pal Malik had said, “Yes, one by one after analysis of every individual, they will be released.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party has announced that it would contest on 280 seats in the upcoming BDC polls. After the Congress pulling out, the only major opposition would come from the National Panthers Party.
The Block Development Council elections will be completed before the state of Jammu and Kashmir is formally declared a union territory on October 31. These polls will also take forward the process of full devolution of rural and urban bodies in Jammu and Kashmir.