Ex-CM seeks body to supervise fair polls in J

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Srinagar, Nov 6: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Awami National Conference (ANC) president G M Shah today demanded consitution of an impartial body of eminent people such as former Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee, V P Singh and I K Gujral for supervising and ensuring free and fair elections in the state.

In a statement here, Mr Shah said the ANC was not against holding of elections, provided these were conducted in free, fair and impartial manner and it would be a step towards the final resolution of the contentious Kashmir issue.

He demanded the constitution of an impartial body of highly eminent, reputed and impartial people of eminence status in the country including journalists, human rights and social activists besides top political leaders.

''The body will supervise and ensure free and fair polls in Jammu and Kashmir to secure the formation of real representative body for providing good governance, besides ensuring peace and prosperity of the state and seeking a negotiated settlement of the vexed issue.'' Besides Mr Vajpayee, Mr Singh and Mr Gujral, Mr Shah suggested the names of writer Khushwant Singh, lawyer Ram Jethmalani, Parkash Singh Badal of the Akali Dal (Badal), CPI(M)'s Prakash Karat, CPI's A B Bardhan, Pranab Mukherjee of the Congress, TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu and journalist H K Dua for the body.

The former Chief Minister said his party believed that elections were ''soul and spirit'' of democracy and the nations' liberty.

Mr Shah further clarified that the ANC was not against holding of elections in the state. ''But, it is unfortunate and a tragedy for the people of Jammu and Kashmir that almost all the elections have proved to be mockery and fraud played with them by those at the helm of affairs in the Centre. These people dictated their own terms and got the elections rigged for their political gains,'' he added.


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