Snow fallout: National Conference demands poll postponement

November 14th, 2008 - 5:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Poonch, Nov 14 (IANS) National Conference (NC) patron and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said here Friday that his party has sought postponement of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the extreme weather conditions. Talking to IANS here, where he had come for campaigning, Farooq Abdullah said that weather has turned “hostile to the election process”.

“The people will not be able to vote in these extreme conditions, therefore it is necessary that elections be postponed,” he said, adding NC president Omar Abdullah has already written a letter to Chief Election Commissioner to this effect.

Farooq, one of the strong votaries for the polls, braving the anti-poll campaign of separatists in Kashmir and other areas, has cited the snowfall in the Valley and upper reaches of Jammu and Ladakh region Thursday night as a reason for demanding the postponement of polls.

Meanwhile, NC’s media cell quoting a statement of Omar Abdullah said that he has urged the Election Commission to postpone the state assembly elections due to the inclement weather.

“The vagaries of weather will not permit the poll process to be conducted smoothly. The electorate will not be able to exercise their franchise and the political parties will not be able to campaign in view of the snowfall not only in the upper reaches of the valley but also in Srinagar city which has never ever witnessed such a heavy snowfall in the middle of November,” the party release cited him as saying.

In view of the weather conditions prevailing in the valley and also in the upper reaches of Jammu region and Ladakh, the NC chief called on the Election Commission to consider postponing the elections to March-April 2009 because by then the weather will improve and a free, fair and smooth election process will be possible.

“The unexpected weather conditions have compelled us to urge the Election Commission of India to postpone the elections despite the fact that the mood of the electorate is overwhelmingly in favour of the National Conference”, he added.

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