Kashmir Elections Sans Mainstream Parties Will Be Smokescreen With No Credibility – Author

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been leaving no stone unturned to grab power in Jammu and Kashmir, which is heading to the polls to elect a new state assembly. However, with the main political parties boycotting the elections, the BJP will remain untested in the absence of strong opponents, according to experts.

One of the main BJP opponents and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, was released from detention on Tuesday. She was kept under house arrest for more than a year after she protested the federal government’s move in August 2019 to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status, which had given the local government considerable autonomy.

Immediately after her release, Mufti announced she would fight against the “black decision taken on a black day” by New Delhi, while calling the scrapping of the special status an “insult to Kashmiris”.

Mufti, along with other local leaders resisting the constitutional changes made on 5 August last year, have mounted challenges to the federal government, which is hoping to conduct assembly elections either by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. Mufti’s predecessor and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah also announced his decision to boycott the assembly elections.

Kashmir-based author and journalist Gowhar Geelani, who has been closely monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, is of the opinion that conducting elections with mainstream political parties like the National…

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