Civic polls amid fear, hostility

Shafqat Bukhari

Civic polls amid fear, hostility

Though for any election process in any part of the world peace the willingness of the electorate and atmosphere of peace is must but the Jammu & Kashmir Government whether run by a popular regime or a governor’s administration always tries to impose massive election exercises over the people of the state. Strange it is that the new governor Satya Pal Malik announced the poll schedule for municipal and panchayat elections the time when several policemen were abducted by the militants after a massive crackdown by the government forces on the families of some top militants of frontline militant groups in Kashmir valley. Though no government in any part of the world would choose to announce poll schedule for the civic polls amid a hostile security and political atmosphere but the Jammu & Kashmir government commanded and controlled by new governor Satya Pal Malik took a highly controversial decision in a highly provocative political and security atmosphere in the state. Since the new governor Satya Pal Malik announced the poll schedule for municipal and panchayat elections only a day after meeting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh even naives can understand that the governor’s administration has not taken the decision of holding civic elections on its own assessment of the situation but on the directions of the central government’s home ministry. Since the governor Satya Pal Malik is yet to understand the political and security situation changing fast at breath taking speed in the wake of continuing row over the legal challenge to article 35-A in the Supreme Court of the country and the increasingly worsening law and order situation developing in the state he should have sought more time from the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh during his recent meeting with him in New Delhi for deciding the timing of the municipal and panchayat elections in the state. The intent of the Modi government in imposing unwanted election exercises over an unwilling electorate in hostile security and political atmosphere is by all standards of understandabilities it’s attempt to claim an upper hand over restoration of normalcy ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections in restive parts of Kashmir valley.

Since Governor’s own assessment of the situation for conduct of municipal and panchayat elections matters the most Satya Pal Malik reserves the right to defer the elections in larger interests of the stabilization of security and political atmosphere in the state.  

Had Modi government been concerned about the restoration of normalcy for restoration of a free and fair election exercise in the state the home minister Rajnath Singh won’t have directed the new governor to take an unwise decision on holding municipal and panchayat elections in a hostile security and political atmosphere in the state. The decision of the new governor on the conduct of municipal and panchayat elections is overtly and covertly an endorsement of the statement of J&K BJP Chief Ravinder Raina in which he said “the central government did not want N N Vohra to continue and Satya Pal Malik is BJP’s own man”. New Governor Satya Malik has though said that governor’s house is the people’s house and now he will have to translate his words into deeds to show his concerns for the dignity of the office he holds. Since Governor’s own assessment of the situation for conduct of municipal and panchayat elections matters the most Satya Pal Malik reserves the right to defer the elections in larger interests of the stabilization of security and political atmosphere in the state.

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