PDP Leader Waheed Para Clarifies 'Referendum' Remark Ahead of J&K Polls

PDP candidate Waheed Para clarifies his "referendum" remark, saying it emphasized the election's importance, not violating the Model Code of Conduct. The Jammu and Kashmir election department had issued a notice seeking an explanation, citing potential community differences.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
PDP Leader Waheed Para Clarifies 'Referendum' Remark Ahead of J&K Polls

PDP Leader Waheed Para Clarifies 'Referendum' Remark Ahead of J&K Polls

Waheed Para, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, has written to the Jammu and Kashmir election department to clarify his recent statement about considering the ongoing general election as a "referendum" to send a message to New Delhi. Para's remarks, made during a party convention in Srinagar on April 20, had drawn objections from the election department, which issued a notice seeking an explanation and citing the potential for aggravating differences among communities.

Why this matters: The clarification of Para's statement highlights the sensitivity surrounding political discourse in Jammu and Kashmir, and the need for political parties to adhere to the Model Code of Conduct during the campaign period. This incident also underscores the significance of the electoral process in conveying the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Kashmir to the central government in New Delhi.

In his two-page reply to the election department, Para defended his statement, asserting that it was taken out of context and that his intention was to emphasize the importance of the electoral process. "Though, the statement made does not require any clarification, however, for the sake of greater clarity, it is submitted that the reference to the aspect that the 'ensuing election is no less than a referendum', only points towards theimportance the present electionholds and nothing else,"Para wrote.

During the April 20 party convention, Para had expressed concerns about the well-being of the younger generation in Kashmir, stating, "...entire generation is slipping away from us, children caught in drug addiction, educated under depression and future generation is in danger... to save this, we want people to take this election not less than a referendum and send a message to New Delhi that people are not happy..." The PDP leader claimed that his statement did not violate the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and that he was lawfully entitled to agitate on electoral issues as a contesting candidate.

The Jammu and Kashmir Lok Sabha elections are scheduled to take place on May 13, 2024. Para's clarification comes as political parties intensify their campaigns in the region, addressing key issues and concerns of the electorate. The PDP, one of the prominent political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, has been vocal about the need to safeguard the identity, land, and contracts of the people of Kashmir.

As the parliamentary elections draw closer, Waheed Para's clarification of his 'referendum' remark highlights the significance of the electoral process in conveying the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Kashmir to the central government in New Delhi. The election department's notice and Para's subsequent response underscore the sensitivity surrounding political discourse in the region and the importance of adhering to the Model Code of Conduct during the campaign period.