“Nobody complained in 1998”: Ghulam Nabi Azad supports EC’s move to postpone polls in Anantnag-Rajouri seat

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Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir): Reacting to complaints over postponement of elections in Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat, Democratic Progressive Azad Party chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday claimed that nobody complained at the time when the poll date was postponed 12 hours before the voting was to take place in 1998.

“In 1998, the poll date was postponed 12 hours before the voting was to take place. Farooq Abdullah was the CM and IK Gujral was the Prime Minister. The Election Commission was formed by the Congress because the Prime Minister was supported by Congress. Nobody complained then. How many people know PDP on a national level?” Ghulam Nabi Azad.

He further said that he has given time to his party workers to make arrangements for his visit with the candidate according to the previous schedule. “I had held a few public meetings one month ago in Rajouri-Poonch where I was on a five-day visit… We had given time to our party workers to make arrangements for my visit with the candidate according to the previous schedule. Had the election been postponed last week, I as well as the candidate would have been well prepared before coming here. But never mind, we’ll come back,” he added.

When asked about his plans for the Assembly elections, he said that the Assembly elections should be held in Jammu and Kashmir as soon as possible. “We are already 5 years late for the Assembly Elections. It should be held before. Jammu and Kashmir has suffered the loss. The elections should be held soon,” he said.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday rescheduled the polling date in Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat in Jammu and Kashmir from May 7 to May 25, 2024, after considering a report from the Union Territory administration and analysing the ground situation.

In 2019, polling for the Lok Sabha was held for six seats in Jammu and Kashmir. However, following the abrogation of Article 370, which resulted in the split of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, there is no longer a separate Lok Sabha constituency for Ladakh.

The PDP and NC, despite being allies in the opposition alliance INDIA bloc, have decided to go solo in the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir. In the 2019 elections, the BJP won three seats while the National Conference won the remaining three. Voting in Udhampur and Jammu was conducted in the first two phases of the general elections–on April 19 and 26. The general elections are being held in seven phases in a six-week marathon ending on June 27.

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