SRINAGAR: Congress today termed as a "big conspiracy" the deferment of bypoll to Anantnag Assembly seat and said the Election Commission should not have taken such a unilateral decision at the behest of the state government which was the "biggest setback" to the democratic process.
"The way the RSS-backed BJP has started vandalising the democratic institutions, be it educational institutions, universities or the professional institutions and even the elected houses, they have not learnt any lesson from the murder of democracy in Arunachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand.
"I see the same pattern here that the people of the Valley are being deprived of their democratic rights and this can be a part of a big conspiracy," state Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir told reporters here.
Noting that the reason given for the deferment of the bypoll is that the law and order situation is not good in the state, he said, "but the situation is not so bad that the peoples' representation be taken away."
The Anantnag Assembly constituency was scheduled to go to polls on May 16 to fill the vacancy created by the demise of former Chief Minister and MLA Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Mehbooba, who succeeded her late father Sayeed as Chief Minister, is a Lok Sabha member from Anantnag and was expected to contest for the Assembly seat.
Mir said it was not about elections or who will win or lose but the question was about giving people a representation in the Assembly.
"Situation in 2008 was not good after the Amarnath land row, but the elections happened and people participated in large numbers. In the aftermath of September 2014 floods, the position was worse than a law and order situation but it was these captains on the front who said nothing doing, elections should take place," Mir said.
The JKPCC president said the Election Commission should not have taken the decision to defer the bypoll.
Terming it as "the biggest setback to democratic process and the voting right of the people", he said, "at whose behest did it (EC) take the decision? Who gave such a feedback because EC cannot notify polls till the state machinery does not write to it? After announcing the schedule, how can the EC take a unilateral decision?"
He said the EC should have sent its representative to talk to other stakeholders in Kashmir to take their view.
"But this process was not undertaken either before announcing the poll or before deferring it," he added.
Mir said Mehbooba Mufti had sought the postponement as she felt she may not be successful in the election.
"We understand that Mehbooba has many ways to remain Chief Minister but we thought she would face the people to get elected to the sacred house to remain on the chair. But what we can smell is that she thinks that she does not need people as there are other ways to remain in power," he said.