Farooq Abdullah attacks ECI over postponement of election in Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat

Jammu : National Conference (NC) president Dr Farooq Abdullah took a dig at the Election Commission of India (ECI) for postponing polling in the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat to May 25.

Dr Abdullah maintained that they have the full support of people of the constituency. “See, it was not up to us (to defer the elections). The Election Commission has deferred it. Congratulations to them,” Abdullah told reporters in reply to a question about the postponement of elections on the Anantnag-Rajouri seat.

In reply to another question about the party’s strength in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat and the prospects of its victory, he said, “I can only say this, I have full faith in the people. We have full faith in Allah.” NC candidate and former minister Mian Altaf Ahmed took also took a potshot at the ECI and claimed he had not seen such an example of the deferring of polls in the history of elections.

“There is no example in history that elections have been deferred. I have never heard such an example that elections were postponed due to a mere landslide. This has happened for the first time. It is an undemocratic step,” Altaf told reporters here.

He alleged people’s anger against the system will further increase. “There is no justification for such a step. The seat carved out after delimitation by joining people of Anantnag with Rajouri-Poonch belt is injustice and cruelty. People have already felt it. They are unhappy over it. It is just an excuse,” he added.

The elections to the redrawn Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat, which was slated to go to polls on May 7, were postponed to May 25 by the Election Commission.

This comes after several leaders, including Jammu and Kashmir BJP unit chief Ravinder Raina, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari, People’s Conference leader Imran Ansari, and others, had approached the Election Commission requesting the rescheduling of polls to the seat due to adverse weather conditions.

The Election Commission had asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to immediately submit a detailed report on road conditions, weather, and accessibility to the region, which covers parts of south Kashmir and areas in Poonch and Rajouri in the Jammu region.

The official notification said that the polls will be held on May 25.

Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah (National Conference) and Mehbooba Mufti (PDP) had urged the Election Commission last week not to postpone the polls.

The constituency was scheduled to go to polls in the third phase on May 7 to decide the fate of 21 candidates, including Mehbooba Mufti, who is facing a challenge from NC’s Mian Altaf. It will now go to polls in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.