ANC, a breakaway faction of the National Conference, came to power in J&K in 1984 following the dismissal of then chief minister Farooq Abdullah by the Indira Gandhi government at the Centre. The ANC government in J&K was led by Abdullah's brother-in-law, Ghulam Mohammad Shah.
At a press conference here, ANC's senior vice president and former parliamentarian, AR Shaheen alleged that the Election Commission was in cahoots with the BJP and the Centre to hold elections in a "tearing hurry" and in absolute disregard of the plight of the people and the adverse circumstances caused by the recent floods in the state. "We are not against elections but we are against the timing of the elections," Shaheen said questioning the "wisdom" of the Election Commission to hold elections at a time when the rehabilitation of millions of flood affected people is yet to conclude.
The party leader alleged that the BJP was in a hurry to hold the elections because the BJP president Amit Shah's "absurd formula" of 44plus seats would benefit from it. Shaheen said that the BJP was "polarizing the state along communal and regional lines." "They are tampering with the pluralism of the state and it will push J&K back to the days of 1989," he said in a reference to the breakout of militant insurgency in J&K.
Claiming that over 6 lac people had been displaced and dislocated from Srinagar city alone, Shaheen said that the Election Commission was denying the electorate their right to vote. He said the party approached the Supreme Court on November 1 after it failed to draw a response from the Election Commission. The SC petition is likely to come for hearing on Wednesday November 5, he said.
The party leader said that the EC had not visited any flood affected areas in the state or met any flood survivors before it decided to hold the elections. Shaheen said that the EC announced its decision completely unmindful of the facts that "3 lakh structures have been devastated, 12 lakh families affected and over 3 lac residential homes fully damaged and 32 lakh people affected across 75000 villages."
He said that the entire state machinery had halted its rehabilitation work in view of the elections. "Just today they abandoned the retrieval of 28 bodies buried in a village in Udhampur," he said. "Why can't they postpone the elections for 3 to 6 months? The EC is creating a wide rift between the people of J&K and the rest of the country," he said. Shaheen also criticized the EC for holding the elections during the month of Muharram.
The party petition said that the "lesser voter participation is the rejection of commitment to democracy." Shaheen said that the SC's ruling will determine whether the party would participate or boycott the elections.
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