Refrain from interfering in J&K's electoral process, Mehbooba Appeals to Home Minister

Addresses poll rallies in north Kashmir, says Local Officers from Pahari Belt coerced to support BJP’s proxy parties


Srinagar, May 17 (KIP)- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to the Union Government and the Home Minister to refrain from interfering in the ongoing electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir, emphasizing the importance of allowing the elections to proceed freely and fairly here, as they do in other parts of the country.

She called on the Union Government and the Home Minister to ensure that the elections in Jammu and Kashmir are conducted with the same fairness and integrity as in other regions of India. She stressed the need to avoid pre-poll rigging and to cease intimidating the electorate and officers involved in the election process. "Today, the situation is that the proxy parties of the BJP, which are coercing people, threatening people, and spending huge sums of money, are misinforming the Union Home Minister. According to reports, he [Home Minister during his JK Visit] called a meeting of Pahari officers who were directed that if they do not support the Peoples Conference in Baramulla and the Apni Party in the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, the outcome will be troublesome. I want to request those officers who come from the Pahari belt that you are courageous people. Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing trying circumstances. For God's sake, do not mount the torments for the already troubled people of Jammu and Kashmir. Please remain steadfast, remain neutral, and we are here for you and will not allow anyone to hound you or intimidate you. I also appeal to the Union Government, including the Home Minister, please do not meddle in the elections of Jammu and Kashmir. The way elections are held in the rest of the country, please allow them to happen that way here as well. Do not engage in pre-poll rigging; stop frightening the officers," Mehbooba said.

Reflecting on past electoral issues, Mehbooba recalled the 1987 elections, where rigging undermined public trust in the democratic process. She warned that any repeat of such manipulation could have disastrous consequences similar to the violence and turmoil that followed the 1987 elections. She criticized the BJP's proxy parties for using coercion, threats, and financial incentives to influence the election outcomes, particularly highlighting reports of the Union Home Minister's meetings with Pahari officers to sway support in favor of certain parties.

During a series of roadshows in north Kashmir's Watrgam, Rafiabad, Kralgund, Poshpora, Trehgam, Kawari, Awoora, and several other areas, the PDP President highlighted the substantial support the PDP is currently receiving. She said that the BJP-led administration is fearful of this support, and that the PDP continues to hold a significant place in the hearts of the people despite attempts to weaken the party by poaching over 40 senior leaders.

Mehbooba said that the active participation of people in the elections is a strong message to New Delhi, opposing the August 2019 decision that revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status. She pointed out the high levels of unemployment, exorbitant power tariffs, and overcrowded jails filled with Kashmiri youth as indicators of the prevailing misgovernance. She asserted that voting is the most powerful tool available to the disenfranchised people of Jammu and Kashmir to challenge this misrule.

She added further: "Jamaat-e-Islami contested polls in 1987, including Syed Ali Geelani, but the rigging of that year changed the equations, and people's trust in the electoral process was shaken. But today, the people are coming out in droves as they know that in a democratic process, the great platform to express dissent is the ballot, not the bullet. However, if the government repeats 1987 here again, when a political group misguided the union government and polls were rigged, the situation is going to prove calamitous. It was due to that rigging that thousands of our people died, children were orphaned, and women were widowed."