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Hurriyat, JKLF announce boycott of J&K poll
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | October 19, 2008 16:24 IST
Last Updated: October 19, 2008 20:20 IST
While the mainstream political parties expressed readiness to participate in the Jammu & Kashmir assembly polls, the dates for which were announced on Sunday, the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference reiterated its stand to oppose them.
National Conference president Omar Abdullah welcomed the fact that the uncertainty regarding poll dates had been ended, but felt concerned "about the possible inadequate voter turn out".
"Any form of democracy is better than the governor's rule. But I am concerned about the voter turnout, which will be less than adequate especially in the city and other towns," Omar said.
Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Liberation Front Mohammad Yaseen Malik said his group will canvas actively for a poll boycott in the state.
"It is the democratic right of the people whether to vote or not," Malik said.
The JKLF chief said elections have failed to resolve the Kashmir issue in the past. "Elections are not a solution to the issue. These have failed in the past and will fail in future as well," he added.
"Elections are no solution to the Kashmir problem, but they provide a forum," Yusuf Tarigami, Communist Party of India-Marxist state general secretary, said.
"Despite our reservations, we feel participation in the elections will be beneficial for our people because governor's rule can never be a substitute for a democratic setup," he said.
"We had demanded the government take confidence building measures for polls to be credible," Tarigami added.
Senior Congress leader Abdul Gani Vakil welcomed the announcement saying that "governor's rule is no alternative to a popular government."
Sources close to People's Democratic Party said the party leadership will meet in a day or two to decide whether or not to participate in the polls.
Chief spokesman of the moderate APHC professor Abdul Gani Bhat said, "It is a non-issue whether or not they are held. It doesn't cause any consternation in our circles."
"Our objective is the settlement of the Kashmir dispute, and we know fully well that no elections can produce a solution to the problem. We will soon meet to chalk out our future strategy."
Additional Reportage: PTI
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