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2 polling stations set afire; PDP MLA wants poll postponed

2 polling stations set afire; PDP MLA wants poll postponed
Two government schools designated as polling stations for Wednesday's bypoll to Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency were set afire in the fresh spiral of violence after polling in Kashmir where prohibitory orders were on Monday imposed in Budgam and Ganderbal districts.

With the violence continuing unabated, the PDP candidate from Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency asked the EC to postpone the bypoll.

At a press conference called at the Chief Minister's Fairview residence, PDP leader and candidate for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat Tassaduq Mufti told reporters, "My appeal to the Election Commission is to postpone the polls till the situation improves. It is my request".

Asked if he would withdraw from the contest if the Election Commission did not postpone the polls, the cinematographer-turned-politician said, "If my withdrawing helps in postponing the elections to a more favourable time, I am happy to withdraw."

He, however, made it clear that he would go ahead with the contest if the commission rejected his appeal.

The 45-year-old PDP leader refused to comment on the opposition National Conference charge against the state government that it had failed to provide safe environment for the polls.

Asked if he agreed with the Chief Minister's assertion that only five per cent people were making trouble in Kashmir, her younger brother evaded a direct reply.

"My perception was favourable in many ways. I met lots of people and saw participation of the people (in electioneering). There should have been a larger group of people participating. I did see people participating," he said.

Mufti also dismissed suggestions that the violence in Kashmir was a reflection of the "anger" against the PDP for allying with the BJP.
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