Participate in J&K local polls: Rajnath Singh

Both the PDP and NC have decided to boycott the polls until the Centre clarifies its stand on Article 35-A. The Congress has said the situation is not congenial for the electoral exercise.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday appealed to the PDP and NC to participate in the municipal and panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Whosoever has boycotted, I appeal to them to participate in the polling process,’’ he said, speaking to the media after launching the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) along the international border here. “These polls provide an opportunity for direct interaction with the people.”

The State’s Election Commission announced urban and rural local body elections in phases beginning October 8. However, both the PDP and NC have decided to boycott the polls until the Centre clarifies its stand on Article 35-A. The Congress has said the situation is not congenial for the electoral exercise.

Singh also said he did not see any change in Pakistan’s policy on aiding and abetting terror against India after installation of a new government there. “Pakistan has its own nature and I do not think it will change. We cannot change it, Pakistan will have to do it itself,” he said.

Pointing out that Pakistan will have to understand how to deal with its neighbours, Singh said that India on its part had taken many initiatives to improve ties with it. “Breaking protocol, our PM Narendra Modi went to Pakistan. We pray there is a change in the nature of Pakistan for the good of the country,” he added.

Asked about ‘urban Naxals’, Singh declined to comment on the Supreme Court directions on the arrests, but added, “As per feedback being received, there are certain challenges. We will face them and emerge victorious.”

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