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'Will go to Any Extent to Protect Article 35A': PDP Decides to Boycott J&K Local Body Polls

Mehbooba Mufti said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have sacrificed a lot and no one can fiddle with the validity of Article 35 A.

Updated:September 10, 2018, 4:47 PM IST
Srinagar: Days after the National Conference decided to boycott panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP on Monday also opted for staying away from the local polls.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said they will not contest the polls as the prevailing situation was not favourable. “We will go to any extent to protect Article 35A,” said Mufti.

She said the people of the state have "sacrificed a lot" and no one can fiddle with the validity of Article 35 A.

PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir told reporters unless the apprehensions expressed by the people with regard to Article 35A are satisfactorily addressed, "we feel holding of municipal and panchayat polls will be a futile exercise".

The move comes just days after the National Conference announced that it will not contest the panchayat polls and even the 2019 elections "until and unless the Government of India and the state government clear their position on Article 35 A and takes effective steps to protect Article 35 A in and outside the court".

Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to women who marry those from outside the state. The provision, which leads to such women from the state forfeiting their right over property, also applies to their heirs.

Article 35A has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The apex court had on August 31 deferred the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, as the Centre urged the court to take up the matter after panchayat elections in the state.

The state government last week announced the schedule for holding elections to local bodies and panchayats in the state. While the urban local body polls are slated for the first week of October, the Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in November-December this year.

(With PTI inputs)

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