The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Janata Dal United (JDU) on Wednesday announced its participation in the upcoming municipal and panchayat polls, but demanded adequate security for its candidates.

“We are going to fight the urban local body and panchayat polls, and our candidates in north Kashmir’s Kupwara and Baramulla districts have already started getting forms from the authorities concerned,” JD(U) state president GM Shaheen told reporters in Jammu. “We appeal to Governor Satya Pal Malik to ensure adequate security to the candidates including our party activists and ensure free-and-fair polls.”

Mr Shaheen accused the National Conference and PDP of playing political games by boycotting the elections. “Why did the two parties participate in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council polls?” he asked.

“They know the people are fed up with them and took the escape route… If they believe in what they say, then they should boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls as well. But I know they will not do that and will be in the forefront during those elections.”

Referring to his rallies in the Jammu region, the JD(U) leader said people were very happy that the polls were taking place after a very long time, but were “angry” at the PDP and BJP for failure on all fronts during their coalition rule.

“We see an opportunity to fill the gap created by the previous PDP-BJP government due to its misrule,” he said, asserting that his party had made great gains across the state.

Continuing his tirade against the BJP, he alleged that the party had failed to address the aspirations of the people of Jammu despite being in power in the state and Centre.

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