ECI lacks impartiality, neutrality: Mehbooba Mufti
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister alleged central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and CBI are being used to target Opposition leaders
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti alleged the Election Commission of India (ECI) lacks impartiality and neutrality, and accused the ruling BJP of harming institutions of democracy including the media.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister alleged central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate and CBI are being used to target Opposition leaders.
"The election commission of India (ECI), which is supposed to be impartial and neutral, is actually not impartial or neutral. The ED is not neutral," she told PTI in a video interview.
She also lambasted the BJP for its "surgical strike and illegal strike" in Maharashtra where the NCP's Ajit Pawar and eight MLAs revolted against the party and joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government.
The Opposition faced challenges not only from the BJP but also from various government agencies such as the ED, CBI, and the Election Commission.
"They have become an agency and alliance partners of the government, so that the Opposition is browbeaten, threatened and parties are broken and aligned with them (the BJP) and new governments formed," she alleged.
"They (the BJP) are destroying all the institutions and systems (of democracy). Media has been totally decimated," she said. "This is not good for the country." She alleged the BJP uses money power to break parties and "purchase" legislators, all the while making tall claims about fighting corruption.
"This hypocrisy shows the BJP's corruption. This party has the most money related to corruption. They illegally benefit from this money and buy elected people and governments. They overthrow them and establish their own corrupt government. The impact of this is felt throughout the country," she said "People electing someone through votes does not have any meaning as they (the BJP) will be buying them through money. They are hitting at the very concept of democracy," she said.
On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba claimed it has become a laboratory where the throttling of democracy began.
"Everything starts from us. Throttling of democracy began from us. Now it (this experiment of J&K) is going on throughout the country," she said.
"There was a grave violation of the Constitution by the illegal removal of Article 370. There was a ruling of the Supreme Court that you cannot remove it unless the constituent assembly does not recommend it. Where is the constituent assembly?" she said.
On elections in Jammu and Kashmir, she accused the government of selectively prioritising certain polls while avoiding assembly elections in J and K.
"They talk of holding elections to Panchayat, blocks, urban local bodies and parliament but they don't talk about assembly elections. They fear failure, their imminent defeat," the PDP chief said.
She added, "They (BJP) are claiming that they will give Jammu and Kashmir a Hindu chief minister. They know if elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir, they will be exposed. I don't talk about a Hindu chief minister. At least they should have a governor or an advisor from Jammu or chief secretary or DG from Jammu."