PDP to contest Jammu and Kashmir polls

October 28th, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghSrinagar, Oct 28 (IANS) The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Tuesday announced that it will take part in assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir beginning Nov 17. “PDP doesn’t see elections at this point of time as an opportunity to govern, but as a responsibility to prevent further disenfranchisement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told mediapersons here.

“A well established political party in a democracy doesn’t need either a justification or a reason to participate in elections. However, in Jammu and Kashmir at the present juncture the overall environment is not conducive for an ideal democratic process of elections to take place.

“By and large people are alienated for a political process. They are less likely to vote and more likely to express disillusionment with politics and politicians and often feel powerless to change things. But then where will the power to change things come from?” she said, justifying the party decision.

Mehbooba Mufti said for her party’s participation in the elections was “a commitment to the cause of fighting the system from within”.

The party also released its election manifesto, promising resolution of the Kashmir issue and placing development and good governance on the agenda if voted to power.

The manifesto also seeks demilitarization and withdrawal of troops from civilian areas of this troubled bordered state besides repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Mehbooba Mufti said the National Conference was trying to create an impression that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was going to reward it for “sellouts” it had done from time to time by bringing it to power.

This underminded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement that the polls will be free and fair, she added.

The PDP was in power in alliance with the Congress, taking turns in chief ministership, before the two parties fell out this year over the controversial issue of land allotment to the Amarnath shrine management.

The seven-phase elections will be held Nov 17-Dec 24.

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