Situation in J&K not conducive for polls: Omar
Amid reports that the Election Commission may hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on time despite the widespread damage to life and property caused by the recent floods, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said that the situation was not conducive for polling and warned that there will be “zero percentage turnout” in capital city Srinagar.
“Look my party (National Conference) has made it very clear that this is not the opportune time to hold the elections. We believe that at this point of time people are struggling to rebuild their life,” he said after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Omar, however, made it clear that it was the Election Commission which has to take a final call on the issue. The six-year term of the 87-member Assembly ends on January 19, 2015. According to reports, the EC appeared to be inclined towards holding assembly polls in J&K in December as it felt that the ground situation was conducive but that a final decision is yet to be taken.
Floods have resulted in the loss of 285 lives. According to official estimates, 3.5 lakh houses have been affected of which 95,000 have collapsed. This and other damages have impacted on some 25 assembly constituencies including eight in Srinagar city.
The Chief Minister said the recent floods had not hit some sparsely populated rural areas but some of the most heavily populated areas of Kashmir Valley. “The capital city anyway had less than optimum turnout in elections. Tomorrow when zero percentage turnout will happen in Srinagar, who will you blame for that. You certainly cannot blame me.
“Because I am not the one who is pushing for elections. You have to blame those people who are trying to hold elections,” he said. Omar said by holding elections at this point of time, more misery will be brought to people and hence the National Conference made it clear its stand to the Election Commission even though the party was in minority in that meeting.
“We leave it to the Election Commission to decide. As far as the state government is concerned, as I am not talking here on behalf of the National Conference, the state government has made the distinction of whether we can hold the elections and whether we should hold the elections.
“We are in a position to hold the elections in terms of our ability to hold the elections. We can hold that. We have to draw the distinction between the two. Whether it is the opportune time to hold the elections that is for the Election Commission to decide,” he said.
Omar said during his meeting with the Home Minister, he has discussed with him the steps taken for relief and rehabilitation of the people affected in the recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir.