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Kashmir LC chairman’s election unconstitutional: NC

Srinagar, July 21, 2007:

The major opposition party in Indian administered Kashmir¸ National Conference has termed the election of chairman of the upper house of the legislature on Friday as “unconstitutional”.

Addressing a news conference here Saturday, senior NC leader Sakina Ittoo who was the NC’s candidate for the Legislative Council chairperson said that the party would approach the Governor over the issue.

“We would appeal the Governor to exercise his constitutional powers to declare the election null and void,” she told reporters at NC headquarters.

The NC leaders charged the acting chairman P Namgyal of resorting to “undemocratic means” by allowing the elections in absence of NC legislators in the House.

The NC legislators had boycotted the session over the issue of human rights violations in the region particularly during the last two weeks.

When the acting Chairman P Namgyal called for moving the motion proposing Itoo as the chairwoman, NC legislators were absent from the House.

All the 22 members present in the Council had unanimously voiced in favour of ruling allies Congress and Peoples Democratic Party nominee Ghulam Nabi Lone (Hanjoora).

Ittoo said that NC had served a motion to the Chair to conduct election through secret ballot instead of voice vote.

The party had also demanded discussion on spurt in human rights violations in the state particularly the “brute force” used against the protesting unemployed technocrats, engineers, teachers and Anganwari workers.

“The acting Chairman in a dictatorial manner didn’t allow us to discuss these vital issues of public importance,” Ittoo said.

She accused the acting Chairman of opting for a voice vote to avoid cross voting against the PDP candidate.

“The NC legislative members were dragged out of the House and doors bolted from inside,” Ittoo alleged.

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