STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: Accusing BJP of weakening the democratic institutions in Jammu and Kashmir, the National Panthers Party (NPP) on Sunday sought the intervention of President Ram Nath Kovind to uphold ‘constitutional guarantees’ in the state. It also called for free and fair elections to Block Development Councils (BDC), scheduled to be held on October 24, besides ensuring that reasonable political space is given to all opposition parties. “There is widespread feeling in J&K that the State is heading towards one party system with ruling BJP denying reasonable political space to opposition parties. Democracy in the State is on a ventilator, desperately gasping for breath,” the NPP said in a petition sent by its Chairman and former minister, Harsh Dev Singh to Rashtrapati Bhawan. “Not only the political parties are scared of dictatorial regime but the people in general are invariably reluctant to ventilate their feelings for fear of reprisals,” the petition added. The NPP further claimed that the State has been the victim of the wicked politicking of successive regimes over past seven decades. It also said that several decisions, which are the prerogative of an elected legislature, have been taken by the executive by defying the set protocols and precedents. “The elections to legislative Assembly continue to be postponed so as to suit the political expediencies of ruling party at the centre. While the BDC elections under Panchayati Raj system have been announced, the opposition leaders were hardly taken into confidence with majority of them still kept under preventive detentions,” it said. “The mobiles internet services have been banned in Jammu region as well despite it being peaceful. None dare raise his voice against the undemocratic and totalitarian moves of the Government lest he shall be dubbed as anti-national or even put behind bars,” the NPP said.
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