National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party refusing to participate in the forthcoming municipal polls is making Jammu and Kashmir government toy with the idea of holding these polls on non-partisan basis.
The decision of the major political parties of the state to stay away from the polls has put the question mark over the entire process. One thing is for sure that the Governor’s administration wants these elections to be held and refusal of the NC and PDP to participate in the process won’t stop the J&K government from holding these elections.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has already announced that his party won’t participate in the polls unless Government of India and state government assured protection for Article 35A. On the other hand Peoples Democratic Party has also cited the same reason and has decided to stay away from the entire exercise.
Both these parties are stating that situation is not conducive for holding polls and the move can backfire but Government of India is keen to restart the poll process. Holding municipal and local bodies polls seems to be an attempt to test the waters ahead of 2019 parliamentary polls. It looks apparent that GoI wants to give a chance to new faces and the new people. New Delhi is looking for alternatives and holing the ULB and Panchayat polls could be a beginning.
It looks like that the announcement of ULB and Panchayat polls has put the issue of the government formation in the state on the back burner and the entire focus has shifted towards the poll process.