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PDP likely to stay away from ULB, panchayat polls

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Will spell out response in a day or two; disturbed about linking polls with Article 35 A

Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party is likely to spell its stance vis-à-vis municipal and panchayat polls in coming few days.

Sources within the party said that senior party leaders held a meeting with party president, Mehbooba Mufti, in chair at her Fair View Gupkar residence.

Mehbooba returned to Srinagar today after extensive tour of Poonch and Rajouri.

Sources said that the party leaders deliberated about the issue for several hours. However, it remained inconclusive as the leaders decided to broaden the sphere of debate within the part.

As the media persons, particularly the electronic ones, were waiting outside the Fair View, M Rafi Mir, spokesperson PDP, came out of the meeting and said that the party would announce its formal decision about the issue in a day or two.

However, a party leader, who was in the meeting, said, on the conditions of anonymity said that leaders were upset that why party missed the opportunity and allowed rival National Conference, to take the credit of saying what most of the people in Kashmir wanted to say.

“We (PDP) are the ones who had already spelled out reservations about holding Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and panchayat elections. We knew the ground situation but finally NC had the last laugh by taking all the credit by siding with the popular sentiment,” he said.

Some other members also echoed identical sentiments, sources said.

They, however, added that finally the leaders agreed that they will take all the pros and cons into consideration and will have wide ranged discussions before reaching out to final conclusion about the issue.

Sources said that there was a consensus that too much damage has been by linking these elections with outcome of the petitions filed against Article 35 A.

“Government’s argument that verdict on Article 35 A should be deferred because state is gearing up for ULB and Panchayat elections. It conveyed a message to the people that GoI has made up its mind to fiddle with 35 A and is making its deferment just an excuse to hold elections,” opined the participants in the meeting.

The participants said that the government attitude conveyed, in no non sense terms, that GOI will hold ULB and panchayat elections and then fiddle with Article 35 A as per its designs.

A top PDP leader said that the party will make its stand clear in a day or two and most likely it will also decide to stay away from the process.

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