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Separatists for boycott of polls, mainstream parties start compaign

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, Mar 22 (UNI) As the mainstream political parties are gearing up for campaigning in four assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, the separatists have issued a poll boycott call.

The bypoll to four Assembly constituencies-- Rafiabad, Sangrama and Pattan in Baramulla district of Kashmir division and Bhaderwah in Doda district of Jammu division will be held on April 24.

Besides both the faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference (HC) the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) headed by Shabir Ahmad Shah have given a boycott call.

The HC led by Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq has urged the people to boycott the polls.

A Hurriyat spokesman alleged that India was trying to "fool the world community" once again by these ''so-called'' elections.

The breakaway Hurriyat, appealing people to stay from the poll process, said "election or selection will never help to achive any thing".

"We have been witnessing such dramas in the past", he said adding people always have rejected these elections.

Almost all the militant organisations too have issued a boycott call.

DFP chairman Shabir Shah,urging the "pro-India" political parties to stay away from forthcoming by-polls in the state, said the participation in any election would hamper the efforts being made for resolving the Kashmir issue.

"India has been misinterpreting the participation of Kashmiris in elections as their endorsement to accession", he said adding the right to franchise only be used only after the Kashmir issue is resolved.

Mr Shah appealed to the people to stay away from by-elections.

Meanwhile, the mainstream political parties have already geared up to woo the voters.

The election notification would be issued on March 31. The last date for filing nominations is April 7, while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 10 and the polling will be held on April 24.

The model code of conduct will come into effect from March 16 in the districts where the bye-elections are scheduled.

The bypoll in Rafiabad, Pattan and Bhaderwah have been necessitated following the resignation of the sitting legislators while the Assembly member from Sangrama, Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone, was killed by unidentified gunmen here on October 18 last year.

While Mr Dilawar Mir was the sitting member from Rafiabad, Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari had won from Pattan and Mr Mohammad Sharief Niaz from Bhaderwah.

Both Mr Mir and Moulvi Ansari had won on the National Conference (NC) ticket, but later joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and subsequently resigned from the state Assembly.

Mr Niaz of the Congress has vacated the seat for Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad while Dr Lone had won on a PDP ticket.

UNI BAS YA BST1403

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