No Guarantee People Will Boycott Polls: Bhat

5 April 2014
Rising Kashmir
Junaid Kathju

New Delhi: Senior Hurriyat Conference (M) leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat Saturday said there was no guarantee that people would boycott the upcoming general elections. Talking to Rising Kashmir here after meeting the Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit, Bhat said, 'I can only vouch for the people of Kashmir what side they support when it comes to a cricket match but am not sure on which side they are about anything else.' He said it was up to the people to decide whether to cast their vote or not. 'People of Kashmir are mature enough to decide whether to vote or not,' Bhat said. The 16th Lok Sabha polls in six parliamentary constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir would be held in five-phases from April 10 to May 17. Bhat said the mainstream politicians of the State had always fooled people in the name of road, water and electricity. On which mainstream political party would provide better governance in the State, he said it was pointless to expect anything from the mainstream party. 'For us it hardly matters who is governing the State, whether it is National Conference or Peoples Democratic Party or any other mainstream political party, they have always sucked the blood of Kashmiri people for their benefits,' said Bhat, who once led the erstwhile All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) which comprised of all factions of the Hurriyat now led by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik. He said polls were no solution to Kashmir issue and could only be seen as a process for running administrative matters. 'There will be no solution to Kashmir till the aspirations of common Kashmiris are addressed,' said Bhat, who also leads one of the factions of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. Polling across six parliamentary constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir ' Jammu, Udhampur, Ladakh, Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla would be held at 9,633 polling stations spread across 7,346 polling station locations. Bhat said people who criticize former Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf's four-point formula on Kashmir should come up with acceptable alternatives rather than rhetoric. Talking about Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani's criticism of Musharraf's four-point formula, he said rather than resorting to mudslinging, people should come up with feasible solutions. 'We have to understand the ground reality of the situation and adapt accordingly,' Bhat said. 'Harping on the same string won't lead us anywhere.' He said the meeting with Pakistan High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit was fruitful and encouraging. 'I was very impressed by the speech of Pakistan High Commissioner,' Bhat said. 'He assured Islamabad will take all measures with the newly elected government at New Delhi after parliamentary polls to safeguard the interest of people of Kashmir.' The Hurriyat (M) leader said it was ready to initiate dialogue with any political party that would come to power at New Delhi. 'We have always reiterated that dialogue is the only alternative for the resolution of Kashmir,' Bhat said. 'Hurriyat is ready to hold talks with anyone sincere to resolve the Kashmir issue.'