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NC says it will challenge DDC chairperson polls in Budgam

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Srinagar, Feb 13: The National Conference on Saturday said it would mount a legal challenge against the election of District Development Council chairperson in Budgam district of central Kashmir, accusing the administration of “murdering democracy” in the Union territory.

NC vice-president Omar Abdullah said an independent candidate was made the chairman of District Development Council (DDC) despite his party having eight members, out of the total strength of 14, in the council.

He added that his party also had the support of a member of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, a part of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

“Talk about murdering democracy in J&K. I met 8 of our DDC members of Budgam district. There is at least 1 more alliance member of Javaid Mustafa Mir’s party so 9 out of a total strength of 14 & yet in an ‘election’ an independent member was made the chairman (sic),” he tweeted.

Abdullah alleged that all this was done with the “active involvement” of the district administration which “issued blatant threats” about powers to detain people for two years.

“Early next week we will challenge this undemocratic action in the courts of law,” he said in another tweet.

Meanwhile, in a statement later, the party said Abdullah rued the “unfair mode of selection” of DDC chairman Budgam, terming the entire exercise a “clear violation of law and rules”.

Interacting with a delegation of the party’s eight DDC members from Budgam who had called on him at his residence here, the party vice-president rued the active involvement of the district administration which, he said, “issued blatant threats” about the power to detain people for two years.

“The administration is playing partisan to curry favor with particular DDC members; the mode and manner in which the election of DDC chairman was conducted is a point in case,” he said.

Abdullah said the manner in which the normal course of election of DDC chairman in Budgam was “fiddled” with is an “indictment of the aversion the ruling dispensation nurtures for due democratic values”.

“What is more alarming is the manner in which the J&K administration benefits a particular candidate. The entire exercise has already been brought to light by nine DDC members of Budgam district with the media the other day. Out of the nine members, eight belong to NC and one to PAGD. Such inequitable occurrences will discredit the entire election process and will prove counter-productive,” he said.

“The mechanism framed for the selection of DDC chairman, it goes without saying, is to facilitate horse-trading and defections,” Abdullah added.

The NC vice-president said the party would challenge the “undemocratic action” in the court of law.

“The party MPs raised the issue in the lower house of the parliament; in addition to that the dubious mode and manner in which the elections for DDC chairman were held at Budgam was also brought to the notice of the J&K SEC KK Sharma.

“The party has also brought the issue in public domain through the media. We will take a legal recourse as well and challenge the undemocratic exercise in the court of law,” he said.

The National Conference (NC) has already taken up the issue with State Election Commissioner K K Sharma.

The party’s Member of Parliament Hasnain Masoodi had raised the issue of “unfair mode of selection” of DDC chairman Budgam with Sharma, terming the entire exercise a “clear violation of law and rules”.

“It is the betrayal of people’s mandate. The mode and manner in which the entire exercise was conducted has already been brought to light by nine DDC members of Budgam district with the media,” he said.

The group of nine elected DDC members from Budgam had held a protest here on Tuesday, demanding re-election for the post of chairperson.

Earlier this week, Nazir Ahmad Khan — an independent DDC member — was elected as the chairperson, while Nazir Ahmad Jahara of NC was elected as the vice-chairperson of the council.

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