NC to sack members who contest municipal polls, Junaid Mattoo quits party to stand in civic polls

The two-day long Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting of National Conference (NC), which concluded Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution to sack any party leader and member found participating in the Urban Local Body (ULB) or Panchayat polls.
CWC, the top decision-making body of the party, passed the resolution in the wake of the resignation of party’s chief spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu, who resigned to contest the ULB polls.
Sources in the party said some of the members in CWC had raised voice against the party’s decision not to contest ULB and Panchayat polls.
NC General Secretary and MLA Khanyar, Ali Muhammad Sagar while confirming the party’s decision to sack anybody found participating in the ULB and Panchayat polls said, “We have asked every member of the party not to contest or participate in either the ULB or Panchayat polls.”
He said in wake of the Government of India (GoI) and State government’s ambiguous stand vis-à-vis Article 35-A’s defence, NC’s CWC has asked its members not to participate in the elections as a mark of protest.
“They haven’t replaced Tushar Mehta and the RSS chief himself has said that repealing Article 35-A and Article 370 is on their agenda. So how can we participate when the elections have been linked to Article 35-A’s hearing,” he said.
The NC General Secretary said all the mainstream parties, which have majority of seats in the State legislature have boycotted these elections, leaving only the BJP and Congress in the fray, who have to sell their participation to the larger Indian electorate in the next year’s general elections.
“Majority in Jammu Kashmir is against these elections. If they (GoI) want to conduct these polls just for the sake of conducting them, let them do it,” Sagar said. “The CWC agreed that the people of the State won’t be able to freely exercise their vote for electing ULB and Panchayats under the present atmosphere of killings of civilians and policemen.”
He said the CWC passed the resolution asking GoI to take up the State legislature’s autonomy resolution passed during the NC regime in 1996.
“If the situation is to be normalised in the State, this is apt time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take up that bill,” the NC General Secretary said. “The CWC passed the resolution stressing on the government to do more to protect the loss of lives of civilians.”
He said the resolutions were also passed against the growing human rights violations in the Valley and rising prices which had wreaked havoc on the common people.
Sagar said the CWC unanimously also passed the resolution to defend the special provisions enshrined in the Indian constitution vis-à-vis Jammu Kashmir.
NC President Farooq Abdullah, who addressed the CWC at the end of the meeting, stressed upon building the party at the grass roots level.
He said the stand of the party to stay away from all polls till GoI comes out with a clear and unambiguous stand on defence of Article 35-A in the Supreme Court.
The party in one of its five resolutions passed on Tuesday said, “NC stands for the unity, integrity and the special status of Jammu Kashmir and shall continue to strive to defend its secular character.”
The resolution read, “We further resolve that NC will continue to work in this direction and vehemently defeat the nefarious designs of the forces, who are bent upon weakening the secular credentials of J&K.”
The NC CWC resolution also termed the calling off of the meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan scheduled for this week in USA as “extremely unfortunate”.
“India and Pakistan must restart a sustained and uninterrupted dialogue process to find a solution to all disputes including Kashmir,” the NC resolution reads.
The CWC reiterated NC’s stand and commitment to defend and protect Article 370 and Article 35-A of the constitution of India.
“The protection and defense of these constitution provisions and restoration of autonomy in J&K is the bedrock of NC’s policy and political agenda,” the party resolution reads. “It is essential to protect the distinct identity of the State and its people.”
Castigating the former PDP-BJP government, one NC CWC resolution reads, “The root cause of the alienation and anger that has been visible since 2014 is the opportunistic alliance of PDP with BJP. It was a betrayal of the mandate of the people who voted in 2014 Assembly polls.
“After 2014, there has been a marked and worrisome deterioration in the security scenario across the State. The sanctity of life in the State, whether it is in the number of educated employed youngsters who have taken up arms or the families of Police personnel and civilians who are being targeted has been greatly eroded.
“The Working Committee of NC resolves that Government of India and the Governor’s administration should immediately take steps to restore a sense of security in the State. A zero tolerance policy for human rights violations must be reiterated and implemented in letter and spirit.”
One of the resolutions of the party read that NC’s CWC placed on record its deep concern at the sharp rise of prices of essential commodities especially petrol, diesel, and LPG cylinders.
“This price hike is placing an unbearable burden on the people. We appeal to the government to take emergent steps to immediately reverse this trend,” the resolution read.
Senior party leaders including Vice President Omar Abdullah; Abdul Rahim Rather; Muhammad Akbar Lone; Mian Altaf; Additional General Secretary Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Provincial Presidents Nasir Aslam Wani, Devendra Singh Rana and other special invitees from all three regions of the State attended the meeting.

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