The Congress will take part in the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir to fight against the "unconstitutional" policies of the BJP through the power of the ballot, the party said on Saturday. Elections to the DDCs and vacant posts of sarpanch and panch will be held in eight phases from December 1 to December 24, according to a notification issued by the State Election Commission on Friday.
"The Congress with an open heart is going to put up its best candidates for the upcoming DDC elections to fight the wrong and unconstitutional policies of the BJP which has left the people of Jammu and Kashmir unhappy," Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir said. He also said mainstream parties that are demanding the restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir are not against the country or its people but their "fight is against the wrong policies" of the BJP.
The Centre on August 5 last year had abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The BJP has taken a vow to finish the identity of Jammu and Kashmir through "unconstitutional and undemocratic" moves like abrogation of special status, introduction of new land laws and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into union territories, the Congress leader alleged.
Mir appealed to the people to vote in the upcoming elections and said that "the people of Jammu and Kashmir are politically mature and they will use this opportunity". "The Congress will put forth the best of its candidates who are pro-people," he said, adding that it was his party which introduced three-tier Panchayati Raj in the country.
However, Mir said that there are serious concerns, especially with regard to the security of candidates. "We demand that there should be no back door entry and security concerns are also needed to be addressed to ensure free and fair elections. The focus should be on sensitive areas where extra measures need to be taken," he said.
The Congress has already raised these concerns with the Election Commission, Mir said. To a question on delay in holding of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress leader said that there is no alternative to a people's government.
"Whether it is the rule of governor, lieutenant governor or officers, it can never be pro-people Only an elected government can provide a pro-people government because the representatives are accountable to the public," he said. If the situation is conducive for elections to urban local bodies and DDCs, then why cannot assembly polls be held to give an elected government to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Mir asked.
On the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), he said that "the Congress is fighting the wrong policies of the BJP at the national level". Seven mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including the PDP and the National Conference, formed the alliance for the restoration of special status. "We have made it clear that the August 5 last year decision of the BJP-led government was unconstitutional and undemocratic on all platforms including the floor of the Parliament and in the working committee meeting, Mir said.
"If there is an alliance of regional parties, opposing the wrong policies of the BJP government at the Centre, it is a welcome step. The basic demand of the alliance is the same for which the Congress is protesting for the last 15 months, he said. However, he said a recent remark by a leader of the alliance was not in good taste.
Mir was apparently referring to the controversial statement of PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the vice chairperson of the PAGD, on the tricolor. We are not against the country or its people. Our fight is against the wrong policies of BJP, he said.