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Posted On : 16 Mar, 2017  Source : PTI  Place : Srinagar 
BJP to decide on contesting J&K bypolls with aim to boost NDA kitty: Khanna
BJP will decide on fielding candidates for the bypolls to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats keeping in mind its aim to bolster the NDA government at the Centre's kitty, party's state incharge Avinash Rai Khanna said today.

Khanna and BJP state president Sat Sharma arrived here today to consult local leaders about the upcoming bypolls for which the BJP has not yet announced any candidates.

Talking to reporters, Khanna said the "aim of the BJP was to add the two Lok Sabha seats of Kashmir to the NDA kitty." 

"We took the view of the party workers on the by-polls and we will discuss that within our team here. We will then convey to the central leadership on whether the Jammu and Kashmir unit wants to contest the polls or not. Whatever the central leadership decides, we will implement that decision," Khanna said.

BJP spokesperson Khalid Jehangir also said that no decision has been taken yet on whether to field candidates in the bypolls or not.

Significantly, the PDP which is BJP's alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir, has already fielded Mufti Tassaduq Hussain, brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti from Anantnag Lok Sabha seat while Nazir Ahmad Khan is its candidate from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.

Opposition NC and Congress have entered into a seat sharing agreement for the bypolls. NC has fielded its president Farooq Abdullah from Srinagar while state Congress chief G A Mir will contest from the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.

Asked about the demand for revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from J&K, Khanna said "our stand is that till peace is established here, situation does not become normal, the Centre is keeping an eye on everything and will take a decision at an appropriate time".

Chief Minister Mehbooba had yesterday raked up the issue of revocation of AFSPA from some areas to "see the impact".

Khanna, when asked about the separatists' call for boycott of the forthcoming elections, said people should participate in elections in large numbers and vote according to their will.

"I think people should vote according to the work done by this government," he said adding when democracy is there, development will happen.

Creating hurdles in the democratic system would not be in the interest of this state," he said criticised the putting up of posters calling for a boycott of elections.

On the allegation levelled by NC on withdrawal of security to his party leaders, the BJP leader said "security is not taken away on vindictiveness." 

It works on the basis of reports of security agencies and not seeing who the person is or to which party he belongs to, Khanna said.

The Anantnag Lok Sabha seat fell vacant in June last after Mehbooba won the assembly bypolls and vacated it to become the Chief Minister. The bypolls for this seat would now be held on April 12 

The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, for which the bypolls will be held on April 9, was vacated by former PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra who had resigned last year in September in protest against alleged "brutalities" on Kashmir protesters.