M A I N   N E W S

Snow heats up valley
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Snowfall has led to new political bouts in Kashmir valley. The National Conference wants deferment of polls and Panthers supports it, but the PDP and the BJP smell a rat.

Jammu, November 14
While National Conference (NC) president Omar Abdullah’s demand of postponing the Assembly elections in view of heavy snowfall in Kashmir has found support from the Panthers Party, the BJP and the PDP feel that the “NC is looking for a premise to run away from the elections”.

Talking to The Tribune, former state BJP chief Nirmal Singh said the National Conference is now “trying to run away from the elections and they were merely looking for an excuse for it”. He opined that once the election process has started it should reach its logical end. He said the inclement weather in Kashmir valley would not affect the polling percentage.

Senior PDP leader Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari said, “Omar Abdullah’s demand to put off the elections is the result of the response that he has received from the people during his campaign.” He said the PDP had been opposing the elections in November-December right from the beginning and it was only due to NC’s consent that the Election Commission decided to hold the exercise now. “However, now when the NC has become aware of the people’s mood it is looking for a pretext to postpone the elections,” he said, adding that it was untimely snowfall and the weather could clear anytime.

However, Omar Abdullah’s demand found some support from Panthers Party chief Prof Bhim Singh who said: “There is a sense in his demand. The EC should see the feasibility of holding elections in such weather conditions, which you cannot ignore for holding the exercise in a free and fair manner.”

He, however, said the EC should not ask any political party for their views, as they would give their opinion keeping in view their own interests. “The EC should itself look into the matter,” he added.

However, the Congress wasn’t as vocal against the NC as the BJP or the PDP. Former minister and senior Congress leader Abdul Gani Vakil said the way Omar has “made the demand without judging how much snowfall has taken place the reasons behind it may be political”.

He said the EC should see as to how much it could affect the polling in the state. He opined that the snowfall, what it is today, cannot affect the polling much, but if it increases in the coming days it will certainly have an impact on it. He said as of now there is no reason to demand postponement of the elections. He also felt that if at all the demand has to come it should either come from the people of the area or all political parties.



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