Srinagar, April 24: Even faulty nomination papers cannot hurt the First Family of the ruling National Conference.
Chief minister Omar Abdullahs uncle, Mustafa Kamal, will get a second chance because the Election Commission, instead of scrapping his candidature, has scrapped the May 7 Hazratbal Assembly by-poll altogether.
The commission, which detected the irregularities in Kamals papers following an Opposition alert, says its hands were tied because the returning officer (RO) had already accepted the nomination.
Its not legally tenable to reject his nomination when the RO has accepted his papers, the states chief electoral officer, B.R. Sharma, said.
The Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has sought the Prime Ministers intervention, alleging the NC had coerced and blackmailed the RO to accept the nomination.
The Hazratbal seat, which fell vacant after NC president Farooq Abdullah quit to move to the Rajya Sabha, was to vote simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections in Srinagar. The commission said Kamal, Farooqs younger brother, could show neither an authority letter from the party president nor the formal backing of 10 proposers.
The poll panel has slammed the ROs ignorance of the states Constitution and electoral laws and said: Continuation of such vitiated proceedings would be unjustified, considering the huge burden on the political parties, candidates and electors, apart from being a wasteful administrative effort and government expenditure.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has accused the states ruling party of planning a repeat of 1987 when the NC-Congress combine had rigged the state elections, boosting militancy.
The matter is a blot on the credibility of the Prime Minister. We seek his intervention, Mehbooba said. The EC
has given relief to the guilty and punished the party that raised the alarm.
The first political murder of the elections took place tonight when militants shot an NC block president dead six days before voting in the Anantnag constituency.
Abdul Satar Gania, 65, was killed at his home in Monghama village of Tral, south Kashmir, at a time a large number of militants are believed to have entered the Valley to try and disrupt the polls.
Last years Assembly polls had been by and large peaceful but officers fear this election could see violence. It remains to be seen if Rahul Gandhi calls off his scheduled rally in Anantnag in favour of ally NC.
The militants have already forced the separatist Hurriyat Conference to reverse its decision not to give a poll boycott call.