Lok Sabha Elections 2024: PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti alleges PDP workers detained on Phase 6 polling day, stages protest

People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti on May 25 staged a protest outside a police station in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district alleging detention of her party workers and polling agents.

The former chief minister is contesting the elections from Anantnag-Rajouri seat where polling is underway in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections.

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Mufti, also claimed that outgoing calls on her mobile number have been suspended. Police, however, said those detained are overground workers (OGWs) and the action was taken to ensure smooth conduct of elections.

Mufti, among 20 candidates in the fray from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, staged a sit-in outside Bijbehara police station on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. The protesters raised slogans against the Jammu and Kashmir administration and demanded that those detained be immediately released.

Iltija Mufti, Mehbooba’s daughter, took to social media and also alleged that only PDP workers were being targeted.

“Our PDP polling agents are being targeted and arrested. We are asking the reason but they are not saying anything. If they are so afraid of me going to the Parliament, then the lieutenant governor should tell me not to fight elections,” Mehbooba Mufti told reporters.

Also Read: Kashmir news: PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti faces high-stakes battle in Anantnag-Rajouri seat in Phase 6 of LS polls today

The Anantnag-Rajouri seat is a battleground for a three-way contest in the first election after the abrogation of Article 370 and redrawing of its political map.

Mufti, is contesting against Mian Altaf of the National Conference (NC), and Zafar Iqbal Manhas of the Apni Party, making the outcome in Anantnag-Rajouri seat highly unpredictable.

Mufti said this kind of ‘rigging’ was witnessed in 1987 which many believe led to the eruption of militancy in Kashmir. Police, however, said only a few people with a “tainted” past record and who can pose a threat to law and order on polling day have been detained.

“Those who have been detained are overground workers and have been taken into preventive custody to ensure peaceful polling,” a police official told news agency PTI.

Police and civil officers rushed to the scene and unsuccessfully tried to persuade Mufti for over an hour to lift the blockade, officials said. Police personnel resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the swelling crowds of onlookers, they said. Mufti left the protest site briefly to cast her vote and returned.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2024: In 2019, Congress couldn’t win any of the 58 seats voting in phase 6 today, BJP bagged 40

“I am not able to make any calls since morning. There is no explanation for this sudden suspension of services on the day of polling in the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency,” she told news agency PTI.

On Friday, Mehbooba Mufti had written to the Election Commission claiming that PDP workers and polling agents were detained by police.

 

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Published: 25 May 2024, 01:39 PM IST

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