JK polls to be discussed amidst boycott

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{image-j&k_08092008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Kashmir, Sep 8: A boycott to stop Kashmir polls are on in Kashmir valley whereas, Election Commission is meeting political parties on Monday, Sep 8 in Delhi to discuss polls in Kashmir. A threat of a social boycott of the mainstream political parties, if they participate in the poll process in Kashmir. "We will ask people not to participate in their joys, or their sorrows. No one will attend their weddings or Funeral, they wont even allowed to be buried here," says hard line Hurriyat Leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The Congress is now a political pariah in the Valley. It is also expected to lose ground to the BJP in Jammu. The support bases of the Kashmir based political parties; the National conference and the PDP too have shrunk in the wake of the Amarnath land row.

With the separatist wave on the wane over the last one-week, parties are getting ready to test political waters again. However, National Congress being on a more solid wicket compared to the PDP given the role of PDP ministers in the land row.

The centre though is banking on the differences in the Hurriyet factions to stem the separatist tide in urban Kashmir and on the harvest season to weaken it in rural Kashmir. However, voters in Kashmir are mostly considered to be indifferent to elections, and political parties are bracing for a low voter turnout.

Even as the huge numbers seen responding to separatist calls gave the word turnout a new meaning, the challenge in front of the centre is not how soon elections can be held in Jammu and Kashmir but mass political participation credibility.


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