Farooq Abdullah Threatens To Boycott Lok Sabha Polls Over Article 35A

In a major setback to grassroots democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference had decided to boycott the upcoming local body polls.

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Farooq Abdullah had said that the decision to hold local body polls elections was hurried.

Srinagar: 

Veteran leader from Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah said that his party will boycott the general elections and state elections if the centre doesn't make its stand on the controversial Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir clear. Mr Abdullah's threat comes days the National Conference said that it will boycott the upcoming local body elections in Jammu and Kashmir over Article 35A, a constitutional provision that defines "permanent residents" of the state.

"We will not only boycott Panchayat elections but also Lok Sabha and assembly elections if the centre doesn't clear its stand on Article 35A and Article 370," Mr Abdullah said on Saturday.

Article 35A, that bars outsiders from owning property in Jammu and Kashmir, has been challenged in the Supreme Court. Last week, Supreme Court deferred the hearing to January after the state authorities cited possible law and order problems in holding municipal and Panchayat elections.

Article 370 is an extension of Article 35A that allows the state its own constitution, flag and the right to handle its own laws except on matters that impact national security. The BJP has maintained that repealing Article 370 is part of its core philosophy.

The state administration has announced plans to conduct municipal elections from October 1 and Panchayat elections from November. 

Mehbooba Mufti's People's Democratic Party(PDP), the other major party in Jammu and Kashmir that ruled the state till recently with the BJP, has also expressed its reservations about the local body polls. 

Earlier this week, Farooq Abdullah, 80, said that the decision to hold elections was taken in a hurried manner without taking into consideration the prevailing situation created by the powers that be by "unnecessarily fiddling" with Article 35A.

Lashing out at the centre, Mr Abdullah said the role of the central government and the present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court goes clearly against the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state.

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