Omar writes to EC on rescheduling of rallies

Poll Panel issues notice to Para
Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, May 9: National Conference (NC) vice-president and candidate for the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat Omar Abdullah today asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to direct authorities in the constituency to allow his campaign programme as per schedule.
Abdullah’s letter to the EC comes a day after the Superintendent of Police in Sopore Divya D issued an official directive to the Additional District Magistrate, outlining the rescheduling of various political activities in the area.

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The order postponed a car rally from May 9 to May 18 and rescheduled a political rally in Rafiabad from May 10 to May 18, while no new date was provided for a May 12 gathering scheduled in Behrampora.
Abdullah, who has been actively campaigning in his constituency for last one week, was to participate in all three events.
Taking to social media platform ‘X’, Abdullah alleged that the police directive to cancel his election canvassing in some parts of the constituency was aimed at sabotaging his campaign.
“My opponents have been unnerved by the tremendous response my campaign is receiving throughout the North Kashmir. This move to sabotage my campaign in three important segments is further proof of their collective inability to match the response of the voters. They have taken to hiding behind the Administration which is going out of its way to help these BJP proxy candidates,” he said.
“I hope the @ECISVEEP will take note of this move by the administration to sabotage my campaign,” Abdullah added.
The order also mentioned the cancellation of a People’s Conference rally in Rafiabad, to be addressed by local party workers.
Meanwhile, District Election Officer Baramulla has rebutted the allegations made by Omar Abdullah concerning the permissions granted for political activities as baseless. The DEO has clarified that all the decisions regarding permissions to political parties are made with due consideration to security advisories and after consultations with relevant authorities.
The rescheduling of political events on May 9, 2024, was necessitated by credible security concerns, as advised by SSP Sopore. Subsequent permissions were granted in line with revised security assessments and ECI guideline, he said.
Javed Ahmad Dar, representing the J&K National Conference, had submitted several applications seeking permissions for specific activities during the electoral campaign. However, due to security concerns outlined by the Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sopore, all political events slated for May 9, were advised to be rescheduled.
Following a fresh assessment of the ground situation, the SSP Sopore provided updated recommendations, allowing political activities from May 10, onwards, subject to adherence to Model Code of Conduct (MCC) guidelines enforced since March 16, 2024.
Consequently, on May 9, permissions for certain activities, including the placement of flags on vehicles, were not granted as part of broader security precautions affecting all political entities.
Meanwhile, the Chief Electoral Officer Jammu and Kashmir has asked Peoples’ Democratic (PDP) candidate Waheed ur Rehman Para to explain his Statement urging Kashmir’s youngsters to consider the elections as a “referendum”.
The notice asking Para to refrain from making utterances that may aggravate differences among communities was issued by the Nodal Officer for the Model Code of Conduct yesterday. It gave Para two days to respond.
“…this act of yours has the potential of aggravating the differences among communities and can cause discontentment in the society… you are asked to refrain from issuing such Statement forthwith and also to make clear the exact context and message you wanted to convey to the people and also to clarify your position to the District Election Officer, Srinagar, within two days…,” it read.
The notice further said that non-compliance with the notice would invite action under the law.
The notice further mentioned that as per the MCC guidelines, any activity that may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes, communities or religious or linguistic groups is not to be attempted.
Para recently appealed youth to consider the general elections as a “referendum” to send to New Delhi a message about their “dissatisfaction” with the Centre’s decisions post-August 2019.

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