Amid reports that the local body elections are likely to be deferred, Pradesh Congress Committee chief GA Mir asked Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday to clear the government’s stand on the issue.

Mir, who was talking to mediapersons after a meeting of the core group of the party in Srinagar, said the Centre and the state governments should clarify whether they were serious on holding these elections or if it was a gimmick.

Mir said the Congress would announce its decision of contesting these elections or not only after the government made its intentions clear. These elections proposed between November and December were announced without taking the ground situation into account, he said

The National Conference (NC) and the PDP have already announced boycott of these elections on the issue of attempts to “tamper” with Article 35A that bars women married outside the state to inherit immovable property in J&K.

Mir said a team of senior Congress leaders would go to New Delhi to brief the party high command over the issue. “The team will also hold deliberations on whether to participate in the polls,” he said.

Mir said the party leaders during their meeting with the Governor on Tuesday raised certain questions on the issue and it seemed the government was only “testing waters” and not serious on the issue. Asked whether the situation was conducive for conducting the polls, he said, “even a blind person will tell you that the situation is not fit for elections in Jammu and Kashmir right now”.

On the decision of the NC and PDP boycotting the polls over the issue of legal challenge to Article 35A, Mir said, “Every party is entitled to its opinion, but linking the panchayat and local bodies polls with the hearing on the Article 35A in the Supreme Court by the government is wrong.”
Meanwhile, it is learnt that as of now the government is going ahead with these elections and an indication to this effect was given by a senior officer. However, the issue might be discussed in a meeting of the State Advisory Committee headed by the Governor soon.