Earlier Army, other Govt organs would get people to vote, this time they were happy with boycott: PDP leader
After low voter turnout in its bastions of Anantnag and Bijbhehara, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has started anti-boycott campaign for remaining two phases in south Kashmir parliament seat.
The party leaders including PDP President Mehbooba Mufti are alleging a conspiracy behind the boycott by the majority of voters in the first phase of polling for the Anantnag parliamentary seat.
In her maiden meeting in Shopian on Wednesday, Mehbooba had told party workers that attempts were being made to ensure that fewer people cast vote as was the case in Anantnag district.
“Such efforts are aimed at dividing votes of migrant Pandits. Efforts are also being made to ensure less voter turnout,” she said.
Seconding Mehbooba, PDP leader and former MLA Wachi Aijaz Mir said everyone who asks people of Shopian and Pulwama to boycott is their enemy
“Only a few people managed to get the election boycotted in Bijbehara by making announcements in mosques. Why was it done in Bijbehera only? It is a conspiracy,” he said.
Mir said earlier army and other government organs used to get people to vote but this time around they were happy with the boycott.
“Why they are fine if there is boycott this time around,” he said.
“We have suffered a lot of oppression in the last few years. So if we vote for Mehbooba then she can save us from the wrath of forces,” Mir said and urged people to come out and vote in large numbers in next two phases of Anantnag LS seat.
The other leaders in the meeting including former MLA Shopian Mohammad Yousuf Bhat also alleged a conspiracy behind the boycott in Anantnag and Bijbehara assembly segments in polling on Tuesday.
The polling percentage in Bijhbehara was just 2.04 percent making it the lowest in first phase of Anantnag LS seat.
In Anantnag Assembly segment, the voter turnout was just 3.47 percent.
In Pulwama the PDP has won the assembly segments of Rajpora and Pulwama thrice since 2002 while in Shopian the party had two MLAs from Shopian and Wachi assembly segments in last elections.
However, since killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in 2016, the twin districts along with adjoining Kulgam have witnessed tumultuous situation.
The 2017 by-poll to the Anantnag LS seat had to be postponed indefinitely following then prevalent situation in south Kashmir.
Meanwhile, sources in PDP said the nervousness has crept in the party after Tuesday’s dismal voter turnout in the party’s strong pockets.
In order to curb boycott, the party has devised plans to selectively employ vehicles to fetch party cadres in Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian from their homes to polling booths and vice versa, they said.
A senior party leader wishing anonymity said mobilizing people to come out and vote would be the main focus in the next two phases.
“The boycott in Pulwama and Shopian can dent the party’s chances,” he said.
Mehbooba on Thursday in a video message to the voters of Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama said people should understand that they need to vote for electing a representative, who can safeguard the identity of the State in the Indian parliament.
“We only have one weapon and that is our vote. Only by voting, we can get Kashmir in general and Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam in particular out of this morass,” she said.
“Maybe we would have had some shortcomings. We will have committed mistakes as well. But I appeal people to come out and vote for us,” she said.
On Thursday in Kulgam, the PDP leader and MP Nazir Laway along with Mehbooba urged the voters to come out and vote as the boycott was not in the party’s interest.