LS polls: PDP candidate Waheed Para makes big claim, says violence in J&K “reduced in last 5 years”

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Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir): Making a big claim, marking a departure from the official party line, Waheed Ur Rehman Para, the PDP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Srinagar, on Monday said violence in the erstwhile state has reduced significantly over the last five years.

Speaking to reporters after casting his vote at a polling booth in Pulwama on Monday, Parra seemingly endorsed the Centre’s claim of the Valley moving on from the dark days of militancy and the restoration of normality, saying, “Incidents of violence been reduced significantly over the last five years and the government and the administration have played a major role in restoring people’s confidence by enabling them to exercise their franchise.”

Urging people across the UT to “come out and vote” in big numbers, the PDP candidate said, “It has been five years (since the 2019 general elections). Hence I would urge people to come out in large numbers and elect their representative in the Lok Sabha.”

“I urge the people, media, and the Election Commission to discharge their responsibilities with transparency and help uphold and safeguard the democratic processes here. I am happy to note the enthusiasm around the first-time voters this time. This should be seen in a positive light and the administration should do everything in its powers to aid the democratic and polling processes here.

However, while not naming the administration in the UT, he alleged that there were people derailing and placing obstacles in the democratic processes. The PDP candidate claimed that a few party workers and polling agents were arrested amid the ongoing polling in the UT for the 18th Lok Sabha.

“Some people are trying to derail the democratic processes here or create obstacles. Many of our party workers and polling agents have been arrested. Attempts are afoot to slow down the polling process,” the PDP leader claimed.
Polling for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency is currently underway. The ongoing polling marks the return of elections to the erstwhile state for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 which vested Jammu and Kashmir with certain special constitutional privileges.

However, neither the BJP nor the Congress has put up a candidate for the seat. The UT has been under central rule since the fall of the PDP-BJP government in June 2018. The last assembly elections in the Valley happened a while back, in 2014.

Polling for the Lok Sabha in Jammu and Kashmir is being held across five phases. The BJP and the National Conference (NC) shared the electoral spoils in the 2019 elections, winning three seats each. The PDP and NC, despite being partners in the Opposition bloc–INDIA, decided to go solo in the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
The counting of votes for the Lok Sabha in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere has been scheduled for June 4.

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