The National Conference and the Congress today approached the Election Commission of India to lodge their protest against its decision to defer the Anantnag Lok Sabha byelection to May 25 even as the Peoples Democratic Party demanded three days ago that the bypoll should be postponed till November.
A delegation apprised the ECI of the prevailing situation in the Valley and asked for concrete steps to ensure free and fair elections in the state.
A day after the Srinagar byelection witnessed large-scale violence and bloodshed, the ECI on April 10 deferred the Anantnag bypoll, scheduled for April 12, to May 25.
Congress state president and Anantnag bypoll candidate GA Mir has been vociferously opposing the deferment of the byelection while the PDP, citing that the situation was not conducive to holding free and fair polling, has demanded postponement of the byelection to November. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’ brother Tassaduq Mufti is the coalition’s candidate. “The PDP has written a letter to the ECI for the postponement of the byelection till November,” Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shantmanu said, adding that, “no final decision has been taken in the matter.”
“The request to further postpone the byelection has come from one political party and not from the government. Let the government clear its stand on the election. All political parties will be taken on board before taking any decision on the byelection,” Shantmanu said. Earlier it was on the request of PDP candidate Tassaduq Mufti that the byelection was deferred to May 25. He had observed that situation was not conducive to conducting the election.
Meanwhile, a high-level delegation of NC and Congress leaders led by GA Mir today met the ECI at New Delhi and lodged a protest against deferment of the byelection “due to pressure from the PDP”.