With the National Conference (NC) and the PDP announcing to boycott the coming panchayats and urban local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress has convened a meeting of party legislators and senior leaders in Srinagar on Tuesday to decide its stand on the issue. The Congress is reported to have received suggestions against poll boycott as such a step would provide a clear field to the BJP to sweep the polls in the absence of any strong candidates against them.

When contacted, Pradesh Congress Committee chief GA Mir said any decision on boycott would be taken on the basis of consensus in Tuesday’s meeting.

He, however, said the atmosphere was not conducive for holding these elections and the party had brought this to the notice of Governor Satya Pal Malik. The PCC wants that safety of the candidates and electorate should first be ensured before holding these elections.

Mir expressed surprise over the stand taken by the NC and the PDP to boycott the polls. If the NC was so serious about Article 35A then why did the party participate in the recent LAHDC elections in Kargil and Leh. “Mehbooba Mufti should have quit the coalition at the time allegations of the BJP backing an NGO that filed the petition against the Article 35A came to the fore,” Mir said.