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J&K: Congress, oppostion parties welcome EC's poll announcement, NC joins in

Ali Mohammad Sagar said he is hopeful that the people of the state would vote for NC keeping in view the overall performance of the government in the last six years.

Updated:October 26, 2014, 2:24 PM IST
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J&K: Congress, oppostion parties welcome EC's poll announcement, NC joins in
Ali Mohammad Sagar said he is hopeful that the people of the state would vote for NC keeping in view the overall performance of the government in the last six years.

Srinagar: Even as the ruling National Conference felt the time was not "appropriate" for holding polls in Jammu and Kashmir because of last month's devastating floods, its coalition partner Congress and opposition parties in the state on Sunday welcomed the Election Commission's announcement of conducting assembly elections on time.

"The party high command feels that though the time is not appropriate for the elections to be held in the state in view of the sufferings of the people, but since the party has always been a votary of strengthening democracy and democratic values in the state, it will participate in the polls," NC general secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar said.

Sagar said he is hopeful that the people of the state would vote for NC keeping in view the overall performance of the government in the last six years and would defeat the "anti-people forces who do not have the people's welfare in mind and are only looking forward to their own political rehabilitation."

Meanwhile, Congress said the Election Commission was the final authority to take a decision on the polls and the party "accepts" it. "The present government has completed its term and not having elections would mean Governor's rule in the state which the people do not want. Congress has been maintaining that people were against the Governor's rule and they wanted a new government in place to ensure proper relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims," president, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee, Saifuddin Soz said.

Soz said the elected government should be there at the earliest for the good of the state and there should be simultaneous relief and rehabilitation work. "We will ensure that the process of relief and rehabilitation does not get jeopardised during the course of the elections," he said.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while welcoming the announcement of polls said that seeking postponement of the elections was a "blackmailing tactic" on part of the NC and that the ruling party was "afraid of facing the people."

"NC's argument that rehabilitation needed an undivided attention was actually a ploy to delay the polls as it is afraid of facing the people. It was a blackmailing tactic. "They do not want to face the electorate as they know they will be punished and voted out," PDP chief spokesman, Naeem Akhtar said.

Akhtar said the NC wanted to delay the polls and utilize more time for "filling their own pockets and backdoor appointments." "They (NC) wanted to utilise few more months to do what they have been doing all this while. They wanted to place their own men by way of backdoor appointments, award contracts to their favourites and fill their own pockets," he said.

He said PDP also welcomes the curtailment of phases in these elections as compared to the last time. "The EC has improved on this point. We had requested them to reduce the number of phases as it gets too protracted and workers also get fatigued," he said.

BJP's Kashmir spokesman Khalid Jehangir said the ECI has honoured the aspirations of people of the state by the "wise decision" of conducting polls on time. "The decision has come in the wake of the change which people of Jammu and Kashmir need at the earliest.

The state will witness a change after polls and BJP will play a lead role in re-shaping the future of the state that has been devastated by the deluge," he said. The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the CPI(M) said the decision needs to be welcomed at all levels.

"The state needs to have a new elected government in place. People now have the opportunity to select the candidates of their choice who would then ensure proper relief and rehabilitation of the flood victims," state secretary, MY Tarigami said.

However, NC found a lone supporter in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which said the ECI decision was "taken in haste". "It would have been better to hold the elections in May 2015. This decision has been taken in haste," AAP leader, Raja Muzaffar Bhat said in a statement.

He said the state should be brought under Governor's rule until May 2015 so as to "ensure transparency in relief and rehabilitation work for the flood effected people".

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