SRINAGAR: PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti jumped on the bandwagon to announce poll boycott on Monday, stating that linking the local body polls with Article 35A has created serious apprehension among Kashmiris.
She also warned that Jammu and Kashmir's relation with India would end if Article 35A was scrapped. "The party has unanimously resolved to stay away from the urban and rural polls at this juncture," Mehbooba said.
"We will continue our efforts to defend special position of J&K in all circumstances. While the special position is a matter of survival for our people and society, democratic system is the sustenance. Any attempt to impose an electoral exercise in this atmosphere of fear and apprehensions will seriously erode the credibility of the process and institutions, and will defeat its very purpose."
The Raj Bhavan has announced four-phase urban and eight-phase local body polls in October-December. The National Conference has already announced to boycott the urban and rural local body polls till the Centre clears its stand on Article 35A.
Mehbooba urged the Governor to focus on confidence-building measures so that the State is assured of the inviolability of constitutional guarantees. "When we were in power, we had told the PM that that if Article 35A was diluted on the pretext of women's right or refugees, we will withdraw from the government," she said. "For last 70 years, the people are sacrificing to get more rights. If this right is also snatched, it will not be tolerated."
The mainstream parties would find it difficult to uphold the Indian flag in J&K if there was any fiddling with Article 35A, she said. "Our relation with India is because of Article 370. And if this law is scrapped, then this relation will end."