The Congress on Wednesday announced that the party will boycott the upcoming Block Development Council (BDC) elections which will be held in Jammu and Kashmir on October 24.

The Congress has decided to stay away from the elections in protest against the continued detention of senior political leaders in the Kashmir valley.

J-K Congress leader Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that the party has realised that the Block Development Council polls are being held to facilitate only one party, which is the ruling BJP party.

“Our leaders are under detention. We have no other option but to announce that we are boycotting the election,” he said at a press conference.

Besides, the Congress, two key political parties of Jammu and Kashmir — the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party — have also boycotted the polls.

The leaders of NC and PDP are still under detention since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

Meanwhile, almost all political leaders of Jammu have been freed from house arrest nearly after two months of detention as the Jammu and Kashmir government announced BDC polls. However, their counterparts in the Kashmir Valley still remain under preventive detention.

Last Thursday, Farooq Khan, advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that the political leaders in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner.

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government has defended the detention of political leaders saying that they were made in accordance with the provisions of law to maintain law and order in the Valley.

Jammu and Kashmir was put under virtual curfew on 5 August when the Modi government scrapped the Article 370 and split the state into two union territories.